Asante Sana Naivasha!
By Anam Mittra, Speak Your Mind Campaigner and Manager of New Initiatives at Mariwala Health Initiative
The word ‘Naivasha’ derives from the local Maasai name ‘Nai'posha’, meaning "rough water" because of the sudden storms which can arise. No wonder this came to be a fitting venue for the Speak Your Mind 2020 Planning Meeting in Kenya! Activists, thought leaders, and funders gathered from around the world to put their heads together on processing mental health needs and what can we do individually and collectively to conquer the rough waters!
My recently concluded visit to Kenya has been as humbling as it was enlightening.
United for Global Mental Health has facilitated a platform which allows individuals, collectives, activists, national and international agencies to brainstorm about urgent mental health needs, build solidarity towards each other’s journeys and work, and come with up with comprehensive plans for the same.
Personally there were two important observations/ takeaways for me from my first ever experience of participating in an SYM meeting.
First, the presence of a safe space that allowed people to narrate their personal stories of dealing with mental health issues and understanding how that narrative also fed into their advocacy and work on mental health. These were critical moments during the workshop which helped all of us reflect on how the personal is political, and how we need to understand mental health as a sum of parts; each part pertaining to what constitutes the socio-economic-cultural make-up of a person and or community.
Second, was the plethora of innovative ideas for interventions on providing support and care when it comes to mental health. The sharing of ideas, knowledge, successes and challenges throughout the workshop, helped shape our country and global speak your mind campaigns for 2020. We heard each other out and gave feedback to further fine tune our plans.
As we begin putting our plans into action, I look forward to connecting with my peers from the Speak Your Mind community, and look forward to witnessing collaborative change that provides quality mental health for all.