My name is Matthew Dickson. I'm a Canadian who is trying to help people in developing countries with no mental health care. I've suffered from mental health problems myself (schizophrenia).
My heart goes out to people in impoverished or war-torn countries who have to experience not only the torment of mental illness, but the traumas of poverty or horrors of war as well.
I bicycled across Canada when I was 20 in the middle of getting an engineering degree. I wanted to do more fun stuff like that - travel, explore.
At 22 I was diagnosed with schizophrenia. But before I say how difficult it was, I want to point out the strength people possess. Navy SEALs are taught that they are capable of 20x more than they think they are. I believe it. I was called to do things that were "seemingly" impossible. But the point is - you can do them. Don't give up. Stay hopeful! You might amaze yourself!
It took awhile, but I got my mental health back. Recovery is possible! Now I'm trying to help others go through mental illness where I can, primarily in developing countries, as they have it worse than we do in developed countries.
Would you like to help?
Vikram Patel was in TIME’s 100 most influential people list in 2015. Watch his TED talk called “Mental Health for All by Involving All”.
Welcome to Mind Aid!
Mind Aid helps people with mental illness in developing countries so they can get access to basic mental health care. It is the only website of its kind in the world, as it highlights many of the main organizations working on the cause all on one site! Here you can donate to nonprofits using models of basic mental health care that are low-cost, proven effective, and scalable! Also, check out the MindAid 2022 Challenge to get 10,000 women with depression in Africa treatment by December 31, 2022!
Youth can be part of the next generation of leaders in global
mental health at www.GenerationMentalHealth.org!
While receiving treatment from a native doctor, a patient is chained to a tree in the courtyard in Niger Delta, Nigeria. Patients are not given shelter: They say they are only fed once a day. October 2012 Photo by Robin Hammond/Panos
Goal #1 / People are suffering needlessly.
The WHO estimates that there are 450 million people with mental health conditions in the world. Approximately 80% of them (or 360 million) live in developing countries, where as many as 75%-85% don't receive any mental health care. That's at least 270 million or as many as 306 million people who are suffering needlessly.
Some countries have only one psychiatrist per million people. They have no medications. No counselling. No support groups. Some people with mental illness are even kept in chains (#BreakTheChains). Tied to a tree or a bed or a log. Some are put in cages with hyenas and end up injured or killed. Not only do people have to suffer the horrible conditions of mental illness alone, they have these other assaults they have to suffer as well.
Fortunately there are organizations that are trying to help. A model they use is to go into a community and teach some of the members how to administer their own basic mental health care to those who need it. It is low-cost, proven effective and scalable. BasicNeeds US uses this model. The WHO uses a similar model called the Mental Health Gap Action Programme (mhGAP), launched in 2008.
Goal #2 / Inspire positive change.
It's never been easier to help other people than it is today. You can have a blog or website up for free in minutes. You can have a social media or YouTube channel up for free in minutes. You can have a donation-based crowdfunding site up for free in minutes. You have a voice.
Rick Hansen, the Canadian who rode his wheelchair around the world, said that if you want to affect change in the world, attach to a cause larger than yourself and work towards that. Martin Seligman, the founder of positive psychology, said that long-term life satisfaction is found through helping others.
Watch Martin Seligman's TED Talk to find out how helping others yields long-term life satisfaction.
Millions of people are suffering. You can help some of them with a simple donation. If you want to take it a step further, try a simple fundraiser. We need more people to use their voice to start conversations about mental health in developing countries. Yes, in developed countries, mental health isn't where it should be. But compared to developing countries we have an abundance of resources. We have hospitals, doctors, social workers, medications, programs, funding, and yes, we are starting to talk about it more. Many countries have none of this.
We need more money going towards these people, more conversations about them, more organizations helping them. You have a voice. You shouldn't be afraid to use it. You have it for a reason. Why not put it to good use? <BACK TO GOALS
The look of terror on this man's face captures the extreme despair of those caught in Africa's makeshift mental health "care" institutions. Photo by Robin Hammond/Panos
Imagine a world without mental illness.
What would it take?
1) You can donate to (or fundraise for!) these 10 nonprofits giving basic mental health care in developing countries directly through their websites:
www.cbmuk.org.uk, www.pih.org, www.basicneedsus.org, www.strongminds.org, www.afinemind.org, www.mindsfoundation.org, www.psychcorpsghana.com, basicneedsghana.org, basicneedskenya.org, and www.tryglobal.org.
You can also buy gifts of mental health support for kids suffering from war, conflict, or disasters
2) Or to help pay my expenses, you can also donate directly to me:
b) On my PayPal page
d) Or you can hire me to speak here!
No money? Start conversations about mental health in developing countries! It's free!
Funds raised from merchandise go to www.StrongMinds.org
to help women with depression in Africa!
The #1 thing you can do to help someone with mental illness
in a developing country is to share MindAid.ca!