The march of young mental health champions

We often talk about how the growing movement for mental health is being led by inspirational young people from around the world.

This week, our own young champions have met the Sussexes, been chosen as a WEF Young Global Leader, and been featured on the BBC.

Here’s a roundup of the week’s activities, including the appointment of our new COO, Celeste Jalbert.

Victor meets Harry and Meghan

Victor Ugo is the Founder of Mentally Aware Nigeria Initiative (MANI – a Speak Your Mind campaign partner) and a Campaigns Consultant at United for Global Mental Health. Last week, he met the Duke and Duchess of Sussex alongside other young leaders about why support networks for young people are so important for mental health. MANI works to support young people living with mental health conditions in Nigeria. It’s one of Africa’s largest user-led youth mental health networks, with over 1500 active volunteers. Victor said “I had very amazing friends and a support system that made it possible to see through a difficult part in my life. That was the inspiration behind setting up my organisation, because I was looking to create that community I had for myself and replicate it for others.”

You can read more about the conversation here.

Our CEO, Elisha London, became a WEF Young Global Leader

Each year, the Forum of Young Global Leaders undertakes a rigorous process to identify the world’s most promising and compelling leaders under the age of 40. This week it was announced that our CEO, Elisha London, has been chosen as a 2020 Young Global Leader. Elisha has been chosen for her work in global mental health, alongside a number of inspiring change makers from civil society, arts and culture, government and business. Click here to meet the full class of 2020.

Born This Way publishing new book written by youth

Our partners at Born This Way Foundation have announced they are publishing a new book. ‘Channel Kindness’ is filled with inspirational stories written by young people, as well as personal notes from Lady Gaga. Individually and collectively, the stories featured in the book prove that kindness saves lives, builds community and is a transformational force with never-ending ripple effects. The authors are contributors to Born This Way Foundation’s Channel Kindness programme, which seeks to uplift youth voices by providing a platform for first-person accounts of everyday acts of bravery and kindness. ‘Channel Kindness’ is available to order now.

Speak Your Mind campaigners featured in BBC World’s ‘My World’

Speak Your Mind partners MANI and campaigner Jazz Thornton featured in BBC World’s programme ‘My World’ on Sunday. The programme is a news programme for teenagers and is executive produced by Angelina Jolie, in partnership with Microsoft. The episode showed the incredible work happening in Nigeria and New Zealand to increase mental health awareness and understanding in schools. The episode is available to watch now.

Celeste Jalbert appointed as COO at United for Global Mental Health

Finally this week, we are excited to announce that Celeste Jalbert has joined the team as our new COO. Celeste has an MBA and over 10 years experience supporting the effective use of private capital for the public good. She recently relocated to London from Seattle, where she was the founding lead of the Reboot Representation Tech Coalition. In addition to her experience as an entrepreneur, Celeste has also worked at Pivotal Ventures and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

United for Global Mental Health was founded just two years ago and has already had a huge impact in global mental health. Celeste joins at a key time, to support our plans for continued growth. One example of which is a new, dedicated strategy to support and mobilise inspirational youth leaders around the world, in their work to campaign for greater political and financial support for mental health.