At CBM, we recognise that good mental health is essential to the wellbeing of individuals and their families. The evidence shows that apart from the personal impact of social exclusion, there is an enormous loss to communities if people with mental issues are not able to participate in the economy and broader society.
Many of the poorest countries in the world, spend less than 1% of their health budget on mental health. People in many of these countries experience poverty and unemployment, poor health and education systems, these all work together, increasing vulnerability to mental illness.
Mental disabilities are a common cause of disabilities worldwide, accounting for approximately 1/3 of all disability globally, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Measured using DALY – ‘Disability adjusted Life Years’.
Mental illness such as depression, schizophrenia and other psychotic conditions such as epilepsy, dementia, alcohol and substance misuse often cause distressing symptoms that are not given the priority they deserve in health services.
Fortunately, the last decade has experienced a significant growth in interest in mental health as a development issue. This is evident in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Agenda 2030, which includes many important references to mental health and wellbeing.
There is strong evidence for the need for effective, culturally appropriate, and community-based interventions. These will enable local people to advocate and develop mental health services which are relevant and appropriate for more people, in line with a rights approach as outlined in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). CBM has worked closely with WHO and others in the development of resources for this, and many partners are already using them.
There is still a lot of work to be done however through this approach, more people with mental health issues will be able to receive the support that they need to assist them on their path to recovery and full participation in their community.
CBM’s work with people with mental disabilities helps in the following ways:
By working with individuals to help them understand their rights and the mental health issues they are experiencing, we strengthen their ability to advocate for what they need.
We also work with families and communities to raise awareness and reduce stigma to help break down the barriers that often face people with mental disabilities and prevent them from contributing fully to society.
By demonstrating what is possible through our community development work, we influence governments to strengthen policy, improve legislation and invest in inclusive mental health and social care services.
CBM supports a number of projects focusing on community mental health, in West Africa and Asia. The projects cover a range of activities including the training of national and regional leaders at a community level.
CBM aims to bring about long-lasting change to benefit the lives of those challenged with mental health concerns in the communities in which they live.