CELEBRATING BREAKTHROUGHS IN MENTAL HEALTH CARE
Isn’t it refreshing when people get loud and talk openly about mental health?
We think it’s time that everyone started paying attention to the issue that affects more than 450 million people worldwide. Keep in mind that mental health wasn’t always a welcome topic of conversation. In the past, discussing it was taboo and often met with shame, lack of understanding, stigma, discrimination and neglect.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) 1 in four people around the world will be affected by a mental health issue at some point in their life.
Even in 2017, a time of medical and technological advancement, most people still do not speak to a doctor about their mental wellbeing. This complicates the process of providing them with the care they need. The mental health crisis creates social and economic costs that we ALL pay. The truth is, it really does affect everyone.
While we might not unravel the entire problem overnight, we can start by deconstructing the stigma, putting our heads together and talking about it! Bringing mental wellbeing out of the darkness and into the light creates a global platform for social change. As inspiration, we took note of a few international initiatives that tackle the mental health crisis head-on:
Let’s Talk Day
In 2010, one of Canada’s largest telecom providers, Bell, launched its Let’s Talk Day initiative. The event encourages public conversation, reducing stigma and motivating people to get help. Since it’s launch, the campaign has raised almost $80 million with a goal of raising $100 million by 2020.
How it works: On Let’s Talk Day (this year it’s on Jan. 25) Bell donates 5¢ towards mental health initiatives whenever someone texts or calls on its network. The company also makes a donation for every Tweet and Instagram post including the hashtag #BellLetsTalk and donates whenever someone watches its Facebook videos or uses its Snapchat filters. Bell partners with government, institutional and corporate affiliates to distribute the funds raised towards research, access, and care in different Canadian regions.
Thanks for giving us something wonderful to talk about Bell!
Canadian Mental Health Association
Mental Health Week: GET LOUD FOR MENTAL HEALTH
In 1951, The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) founded Mental Health Week to inspire Canadians to GET LOUD about mental health. People are encouraged to wear green, reach out to a friend, seek professional help, organize events, and write to elected officials about increased funding for mental wellbeing.
We’ve worked with CMHA on this campaign for the past three years. When it began 66 years ago, facing a mental health issue was discreet and talking openly about your mental health was practically unheard of. Since then, the initiative has evolved to include the support of Canadians across every province and territory, with last year being the most successful year yet. GET LOUD has featured Canadian athletes, celebrities and musicians alongside first responders, military families, university and high school students and other real people affected by mental health issues. Thanks for amplifying the voice of all Canadians to let our policy makers know that every community needs adequate access to mental health care.
Deconstructing Stigma: A Change in Thought Can Change a Life
The United States of America
McLean Hospital, Harvard Medical School’s largest psychiatric teaching hospital wants to challenge how mental illness is perceived through its Deconstructing Stigma: A Change in Thought Can Change a Life campaign. The hospital teamed up with several other mental health advocacy groups to create a photography exhibit at Logan International Airport in Boston that features photos of real people and celebrities. Howie Mandel, Rick Springfield, Darryl “DMC” McDaniels and others that have faced mental health issues were showcased. The exhibit is expected to reach millions of people this year, boosting public awareness and reducing the shame, stigma, and misconceptions surrounding mental health. It also complements a website, coffee table book and guest blog posts on Huffington Post. So far, the campaign has been successful in reminding people that they are more than just statistics and nameless faces. It also successfully demonstrates the value of creating partnerships to tackle challenging social issues while spreading a powerful message of hope.
Deconstructing Stigma: A Change in Thought Can Change a Life really inspired us because it lets people with mental health issues know that they are not alone!
The Royal Family
The United Kingdom
Prince William, Kate Middleton and Prince Harry teamed up to launch Heads Together in 2017, a campaign to battle mental health stigma in the UK. Through their charity work, the royal family found that many social issues are caused by unresolved mental health problems. This campaign was designed to raise awareness, end fear, and combat the prejudice that inhibits people from getting help. Heads Together works with other experienced charities to offer practical tools to support individuals and families while raising awareness of the mental health gap. The organization was also named the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon Charity of the Year.
As a new initiative, it will be interesting to see what the campaign can do to strengthen the UK’s mental health care system!
These are just a few examples of the amazing work being done around the world to support those with mental health issues, addiction, depression, homelessness and other challenges. We’re thankful to see more corporations, institutions, governments and celebrities joining charities and non-profits to break the silence, reduce stigma, change the narrative, and end isolation. While the global mental health crisis is not an easy problem to solve, creating a worldwide change starts with a shift in thinking that we can all be part of.
What mental health care initiatives inspire you? Let us know with a comment or by Tweeting us @RampAgencyTO.