Nationally driven, globally united campaign takes shape in Johannesburg

This January, lived experience advocates, NGO representatives, creatives and strategic partners from around the world met in Johannesburg, South Africa to co-create a citizen-led campaign calling for greater action on mental health worldwide.

The meeting brought together 80 participants from 14 countries, alongside creatives and Global Strategic Partners. Representatives came from different regions and a range of national income levels, making it a truly diverse gathering.

The meeting gave participants increased confidence to take action, equipped with national strategic plans they produced, backed by collectively agreed global themes and objectives.

“I think we have an opportunity to do a lot more together than we do as separate nations. Most people want to believe in something bigger than themselves, so as representatives we get to do that on behalf of the people of our individual countries.” – Emeli from Australia

“I think it’s an important event that is going to set the ground on what collaboration for mental health should look like and hopefully make as much impact as what we want it to.” – Victor from Nigeria

Two new funds for mental health were announced and the outlines of a creative strategy, incorporating a number of exciting communications ideas, took shape. Participants also decided how to continue to collaborate after the meeting, agreeing on roles, partnerships, a structure and principles for how to work together.

Going forward, each country coalition will drive their own national campaigns, while uniting globally behind a shared vision. Groups will join together in solidarity during global moments, which will be used to mobilise societies to amplify and accelerate advocacy on mental health.

The global campaign will launch at this year’s World Health Assembly in Geneva in May, bringing our messages directly to health ministers. Be sure to watch out for global campaign activities at the UN General Assembly in New York in September and around the world on World Mental Health on 10 October – with national teams also due to organise their own in-country activities.

See below for media coverage of the meeting: