Support Speak Your Mind in Your Country
There is one campaign coalition in each country, please look at our country list to see if Speak Your Mind is active in your country and see how you can support them. Contact us for more information if you are interested in being connected with your local national campaign teams.
With all eyes on the 2020 elections, the campaign team is focused on how to get mental health on the political agenda. The Well Being Trust, Carter Center and Born This Way Foundation have come together to craft a campaign strategy which reflects the diversity of the country, adapting their approach from state to state.
In response to outdated mental health facilities being shut down but not replaced, the team are arranging housing for service users, within a broader focus on social inclusion. They are also speaking with the government and aim to facilitate a more public conversation in 2020. Together with their campaign partner, Asamblea de Usuarios, the team is organising a Latin America meeting on mental health and human rights in Rosario, Argentina in September 2019.
Anything but short-term in their approach, the team’s energies are going into holding the government accountable for delivering on the promises of the 10-year NHS Long Term Plan for mental health. Mind UK is working with United for Global Mental Health to bring together English, Welsh and Scottish partners to collectively map our campaign strategy.
In Sierra Leone, the Speak Your Mind team has travelled far and wide, convening civil society to help push mental health higher up the national agenda. They have already seen great progress with the launch of the country’s Mental Health Policy and Strategic Plan. The Ministry of Health and Sanitation is also committed to revising the National Mental Health Act (Lunacy Act, 1902) in 2020 and to increased funding for mental health. Mental health trained nurses are now officially being recognised for their skills, showing increasing government prioritisation of mental health. In addition to forging alliances and influencing, campaigners are progressively moving at national level, convening civil society to help them push mental health higher up the government’s agenda.
Liberian campaigners are advocating to have a first ever specific line in the country’s overall health budget devoted to mental health. In August 2019, Cultivation for Users Hope mobilised 300+ service users and their families, friends, and supporters to march on parliament, delivering a petition calling for public mental health funding. Increasing their media engagement, campaigners organised a series of talk shows to ensure the voices of those with lived mental health experience are heard. This is having an impact on the public’s understanding of mental health and will also attract government attention.
Campaigners in Ghana are working to enhance public knowledge and awareness on mental health across the 16 capital towns of the country, and amplify the voice of hundreds of mental health service users and carers advocating for their needs and rights especially with the upcoming presidential election in December. They are mobilising civil society to call for Parliamentary approval and government implementation of the Legislative Instrument of the Mental Health Law (Act 846, 2012). The campaign aims to secure £8.3 million from government and donors for community mental health services in Ghana.
In Nigeria, campaigners took to the streets of several major towns and cities in May and October 2019. Through their local networks, more than one thousand seven hundred young people came out to march for better mental health including Nigerian pop star Korede Bello and Celebrity influencer Anto Lecky. Speak Your Mind campaigner Victor and his organization Mentally Aware Nigeria Initiative (MANI) have been calling for the banning of the dangerous pesticide Sniper which has been implicated in the majority of reported suicides, and with sustained digital campaigning the pesticide has now been banned. KENYA - Guiding vital legislation, the team is moving to ensure the UN Convention of Rights for Persons with Disabilities is treated as a key reference point in the reform of the Mental Health Bill. Creatively minded as well as policy-focused, the team is connecting with companies like Well Told Story to shape communications for their national campaign.
The South Africa campaign aims to strengthen the partnership between the government and civil society for the implementation of improved mental health services, including increased funding and periodic studies. Through planning engaging events and activities, campaigners are working on increasing awareness of mental health amongst the general public and encouraging people with lived experience to share their stories.
The India campaign is working hard to create an accessible, context-specific mental health digital toolkit for community engagement and awareness raising. They are training and empowering lived experience advocates to amplify their voices and share stories to reduce stigma around mental ill-health. They are advocating for the implementation of the Mental Health Act and for all Indian states to increase funding for mental health services.
As suicide is the leading cause of death amongst Nepalese women aged 15-49, campaigners in the country are advocating for a national suicide prevention strategy and immediate action plan to address this issue. Adapting to the challenges of a recently decentralised government, campaigners have met with 15 local governments to ensure mental health is prioritised and funding is increased for communities across Nepal, and will continue their engagement at the provincial and federal levels as well. KOSHISH and TPO, are actively collaborating to empower people with psychosocial disabilities to advocate for improved services, equal rights, and humane treatment.
Intent on breaking out of silos, the team is finding partners from other sectors. They aim to connect Speak Your Mind with a major campaign on an issue like the environment or healthy eating, in order to capitalise on building momentum for an umbrella issue that encompasses mental health. Leading the charge on this front, campaign partner YAKKUM is raising young people’s awareness of psychosocial disabilities nationally, having joined a social inclusion campaign.
The team is mobilising people affected by mental illness to build a mass movement. Through promoting community events, running major social and traditional media campaigns, collaborating with sector partners, and working with key decision-makers, they are cultivating a network to change the future of mental health care in Australia.
The New Zealand government has recently allocated NZ$1.9 billion to mental health over five years in its first ever well-being budget. Campaigners are now working on how best to spend that. They envision a collaborative system change, reduced stigma, reduced suicide rates, counselling in all schools, employee assistance programmes in all workplaces, and early intervention. Voices of Hope has been leading the way, engaging people with lived experience, government, and the media to make their vision a reality.
In the past year Tonga has taken a number of important steps to improve mental health for all. The Mental Health Policy has been developed. The mental health budget has been tripled. The mental health workforce is set to increase as nurses can now take a new diploma in mental health, designed with the help of their friends in New Zealand. Mental health is now a key goal in the first Tonga National Youth Policy; Mental Health is incorporated into a new high school curriculum - entitled Family Life Education. More significantly, there have been an increasing number of Mental Health Awareness activities and discussions in schools, communities and the media.
Sri Lankan campaigners, led by Consumer Action Network Mental Health Lanka (CAN MH Lanka), are calling for intersectoral collaboration amongst the government to take on mental health promotion for youth, social services, education and rehabilitation. They are also working to involve the private sector to focus on corporate social responsibility with employees. They are collaborating with Miss World (Sri Lanka), the WHO, and other activists to improve mental health in their country. Shortly after COVID-19 pandemic began, they successfully advocated for medications to be delivered to the doorsteps of people with mental health conditions.
Peruvian campaigners, led by Collectivo Descosidos and SODIS have formed a human rights and mental health coalition working hard to promote activism through empowering service users to learn about their rights, collaborating with mental health community center users and caretakers. They are working on developing a committee of people with lived experience to review laws and policies relating to mental health, improving the quality of services in their country.
The Pakistan team, led by Taskeen, has worked to leverage the increased awareness on mental health due to covid and in particular highlight the struggles of the underprivileged community to make the case for movement on mental health. They have brought together the civil society, major organizations like the WHO, and the Government to take tangible action on Mental Health by asking for the formation of a commission featuring mental health experts and individuals with lived experiences, and for the inclusion of mental health in the national action plan on Health.
The Philippines Speak Your Mind campaign, led by #MentalHealthPH, is working hard to mobilise public demand and action for mental health in order to improve the quality and accessibility of community mental health services. They are strong online campaigners, having secured a partnership with Twitter to promote their services, advance their advocacy messages, and advising Twitter on how to create a digitally safe place. They are currently partnering with 13 other mental health organisations and are working closely with the WHO and the Department of Health to consult on the Special Initiative on Mental Health.
Guiding vital legislation, the Kenya campaign team is moving to ensure the UN Convention of Rights for Persons with Disabilities is treated as a key reference point in the reform of the Mental Health Bill. The country has recently seen an increase in government engagement in the topic, with cross-ministerial mental health training and panel sessions on a range of mental health issues. Campaigners, led by Users and Survivors of Psychiatry Kenya and United Disabled Persons of Kenya, are constantly working to ensure the rights of people with psychosocial disabilities are protected; following their participation in the WHO Quality Rights Training, they are helping to lead the assessments of mental health facilities.