Friday, 14 March 2014

Mental health, global style


It can't have escaped anyone's notice that we are now living in a global world, driven by international directives, legislation and so-called 'thought leadership'. It does make me wonder, where exactly HQ is and, more importantly, who's the boss.

Mental health has now come under global scrutiny, with a new report published jointly by Mind and the McPin Foundation, which gathers together the collective experiences of mental health charities (NGOs) from around the world. Nineteen charities from Australia to Uganda have contributed to the report, entitled Driving Change, which highlights some great progress being made, especially in countries where astonishing practices, such as stoning, are still meted out to the mentally ill.

Interestingly, notwithstanding the vast differences between the countries - economically, socially and geographically - there were common concerns noted by the participating representatives. These can be summarised as:
  • Stigmatisation of the mentally ill, which often prevents individuals from seeking help
  • Lack of mental health funding, which translates to a shortfall in referral services and facilities
  • Lack of NGO funding, which hinders their ability to support the mentally ill
  • A shortage of trained mental health workers
In many countries, the report noted, mental health NGOs are effectively run by committed volunteers with personal experience of mental ill health, who are motivated to protect fellow sufferers from the difficulties with accessing help they have encountered. For these people, contact with the global community through collaboration on this project has been invaluable, enabling them to share ideas and diminish isolation.

Have you gained insight into the treatment of mental illness by experience in another country and/or collaboration with colleagues from other parts of the world? Are local factors more important than blanket observations made by organisations whose interests lie beyond individuals with mental illness? Either way, what is the answer to the mental health epidemic that is surely sweeping our nation and our world? Let us know what you think about this report, Driving Change - does it, in fact, move the conversation on?

Written by Jacqui Hogan









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