Over 270,000,000 people in developing countries have no mental health care.
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. My heart goes out to people in impoverished or war-torn countries who have to experience not only the torment of a mental illness, but the traumas of poverty or the horrors of war as well. It's not fair.
I went through mental illness in one of the most advanced countries in the world and I could not believe how painful mental illness is (click here to see how I successfully recovered from schizophrenia). Canada has some of the best mental health resources in the world. What some people have to go through in other countries is unthinkable. Yet, everyday, they go through it. Today. Tomorrow. The day after that. Next week. Next month. Next year.
But years down the road, where will they be? You can be the difference in a person's life. BasicNeeds US and other organizations in developing countries are helping people to get their health back. Restoring their hope. Restoring their dignity. Regaining good mental health happens in developed countries. It can happen in developing countries too. You can be a part of that.
Goals of Mind Aid
1/ Make more people aware of the more than 270 million people in developing countries with no mental health services. READ MORE >
2/ Inspire more people to take up the charge and spearhead ways to help the over 270 million people, such as fundraising, blogging, and creating more organizations and conversations about the issue. We need more leaders taking action on the issue. READ MORE >
At www.GenerationMentalHealth.org, you can be part of the
next generation of leaders in global mental health!
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”.
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
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.
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.
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
Watch Martin Seligman's TED Talk to find out how helping others yields long-term life satisfaction.
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?
You can help.
You can donate to these 4 organizations working in the field directly through their websites: www.basicneedsus.org, www.strongminds.org, www.afinemind.org, and www.mindsfoundation.org. They use models that are low-cost, proven effective and scalable.
What the 4 nonprofits do with your money
For example, $14/month = cost of helping one person through BasicNeeds US
They set up support groups for them. They give them counselling sessions with a therapist, or give someone proper medication. They unchain someone from a tree or a bed (#BreakTheChains), allowing them to go to work and contribute to their community.