Mental Health For All

what’s the challenge?

The term mental health encapsulates a vast number of conditions, but due to shame and stigma, people suffering very often do so in silence. One in four people will experience mental ill health at some point in their lifetime. It impacts us all. Mental health is truly the great equalizer—and yet, it is barely represented in the Global Goals. When it comes to addressing mental health, we are far behind the rest of the global health agenda.

One third to one half of people with severe mental health disorders in the Global North receive no treatment. That number doubles to 76-85% for people living in the Global South. Every 40 seconds someone, somewhere in the world, dies from suicide. And yet, governments, on average, allocate less than 2% of their health spending to mental health, and donors less than 1% of global health aid.

If we don’t invest in mental health, the projected economic costs for the world will be more than $16 trillion by 2031. The human cost will be incalculable.

Global Goal 3: Good Health and Well-Being

what’s the opportunity?

For the first time, governments, civil society, the private sector and philanthropy around the world are working together to speed up efforts to make sure everyone, everywhere, has someone to turn to in support of their mental health.

While progress has been slow, more and more action is being taken to secure the rights, access and finance needed to fulfill this promise. Governments in many countries have begun to address outdated and harmful mental health legislation – in part because of the great work of United for Global Mental Health’s Speak Your Mind campaign, a global initiative striving to secure meaningful and urgent action from governments to invest more in mental health. For example, campaigners are supporting the Government of India to implement its progressive 2018 Mental Health Care Act, and in the past six months, Tonga has both updated its mental health policy and tripled its mental health budget.

This Accelerator aims to build and strengthen this multi-sectoral response, catalyzing government action, calling on corporations to make a commitment to mental health in the workplace, and tracking quality data to understand our progress in this area and hold our leaders accountable.

the accelerator will:

  • Launch a global mental health partnership between the Speak Your Mind campaign and HSBC. In addition to supporting the work of this campaign, HSBC will launch a company-wide mental health education program across 65 countries and territories for their 238,000 employees. This education has come about as a result of a conversation with their employees and demonstrates HSBC’s commitment to creating an environment where people can be open about their mental health. HSBC plans to share what they are learning with other employers that want to make mental health a priority for their employees.
  • Build on the success of the Speak Your Mind campaign to change global policy and practice, by celebrating the progress made in Sierra Leone. The Government of Sierra Leone has committed to amending the Lunacy Act from 1902, which has promoted the involuntary incarceration of people with mental health conditions. This follows a mandate in the President’s manifesto, reinforced by the Minister of Health and Sanitation in June. Next year a new bill guaranteeing the right of every citizen to mental health support will be taken to Parliament. Speak Your Mind continues to campaign for similar action around the world with the support of its partners. HSBC is the Title Sponsor of Speak Your Mind, whose Major Partners include The Getch Foundation, Comic Relief and the Korum Foundation. Convening partner is Born This Way Foundation. Official Global Supporters include YMCA, Global Mental Health Peer Network, Nexus and CBM.
  • Establish a consortium of global mental health experts to build the first independent monitoring and accountability mechanism for global mental health - The Global Mental Health Countdown 2030. It will inform government and philanthropic investment decisions, create accountability for policymaker commitments, and celebrate progress. This mechanism will be housed in an open-access database, available for use by policymakers and researchers around the globe.

What you can do

IMPLEMENT A MENTAL HEALTH WORKPLACE PROGRAM

If you’re a business leader, invest in your employees by providing mental health education and support. HSBC is preparing to share their learnings. Check back for more updates soon. www.gospeakyourmind.org

STRENGTHEN THE MONITORING MECHANISM

Sign up to contribute your data, and commit to use the mechanism to hold all decision-makers, and each other, accountable for progress on mental health. www.unitedgmh.org

SPEAK YOUR MIND

Whether you’re a government or a campaigner, the Speak Your Mind country campaigns provide a template for action to raise awareness and promote the need for political and financial support for mental health. Visit https://www.gospeakyourmind.org/the-campaign to learn more.

To join us or learn more, contact goalkeepers@unitedgmh.org.