Partners unite for Mental Health Action Day 2021
With May marking Mental Health Awareness Month, there was no better time for the first ever Mental Health Action Day, an open-source movement to encourage tangible action on mental health spearheaded by MTV Entertainment Group.
This was the largest cross-sector effort to move the dial on mental health and emotional wellbeing, with prominent supporters of the movement including CBS, NAACP, Nickelodeon, Selena Gomez & Rare Beauty, TikTok, World Health Organization (WHO) and YMCA.
We were delighted to see so many of our Civil Society partners taking part in this huge cross-sector movement, each marking the occasion and taking action within their own local contexts. Below are a few highlights from our partners around the world.
Mariwala Health Initiative (India) recognised the role of frontline workers and the need to provide them with adequate support and resources.
Mentally Aware Nigeria Initiative reminded supporters of the importance of seeking advice and speaking out about mental health, and encouraged them to take part in a short 5 second breathing exercise as an immediate action. They also tied the day in with their #31DaysofAction campaign that is ongoing throughout the month of May, with activities including a poetry competition encouraging active participation from supporters.
Taskeen (Pakistan) raised awareness of some of the barriers that people face when trying to access mental health support, including financial difficulties and stigma surrounding the topic.
South African Federation for Mental Health (SAFMH) produced mini documentaries on the mental health organisation’s work, and called for greater investment in mental health. It also shared informative infographics on its social media channels, creating awareness about the importance of mental health.
Waves for Change encouraged supporters to join them in their “Take 5” challenge, a simple breathing technique that they use in their work. It helps users to switch attention to focus on the immediate environment, helping people to give their minds and bodies a chance to calm down.
South African Depression and Anxiety Group marked the day with the online launch of the Life Esidimeni Online Memorial & Advocacy Project with guest speakers from SECTION27, SADAG SAHRC and Bereaved Family Members.
Consumer Action Network Mental Health Lanka (CANMH Lanka) highlighted that in Sri Lanka, there is a considerable need for accessible, low-cost and quality mental health service options, including psychotherapy, rehabilitation and counselling services. They explained that adolescents and young adults need proper guidance and support as they have a greater risk for experiencing adverse mental health or substance abuse consequences, and encouraged supporters to sign their Mental Health Action Day Statement.
Clubhouse International highlighted their #BeYourself campaign, celebrating the value and individuality of everyone, everywhere! They encouraged supporters to take a photo or create a short video being themselves, invite family or friends to join and then share their 'Be Yourself' story on social media, using the #BeYourself & #ClubhouseWorks hashtags to spread the word.
With millions of people having uncovered new mental health conditions in the wake of COVID-19, and millions more having had their existing challenges exacerbated, it is clear that the need for action has never been greater.
You can find out more about Mental Health Action Day, the organisations and individuals who took part, and further mental health resources here.