Turning support into impact for change
By Sarah Kline, CEO and Co-Founder, UnitedGMH
United for Global Mental Health (UGMH) continues to be at the forefront of advocacy for better mental health worldwide. As 2022 draws to a close, we wanted to highlight some of our key activities in line with the strategic priorities set out in our three year strategy.
These are upholding the right to good mental health, increasing financing for mental health, strengthening mental health systems, and contributing to better knowledge about, and support for, mental health.
We also developed the Global Mental Health Advocacy Roadmap 2022 which set out a series of objectives UnitedGMH and our partners believed would be central to accelerating progress on mental health in 2022.
So how have we done this year?
Upholding Rights: Tackling Stigma
We helped develop and launch Lancet Commission on Ending Stigma and Discrimination in Mental Health.
The launch was hugely successful, leading to coverage around the world and pledges of action by multiple organisations.
We are now working to make sure the recommendations of the report are delivered including changing the way the media around the world reports on mental health for the better.
We are working hard to change are the laws and policies that criminalise suicide. This year we worked with our partners Taskeen in Pakistan who have successfully campaigned for suicide decriminalisation through the parliamentary and judicial systems.
Through our co-chairing of the GMHAN working group on suicide decriminalisation we have worked with campaigners in Ghana, Kenya and Egypt. And we have worked with partners in countries such as Kenya (CAPMH Kenya) and the Sierra Leone (Mental Health Coalition of Sierra Leone) who are campaigning to repeal outdated mental health laws.
On World Mental Health Day, we published an opinion piece on Al Jazeera in order to generate more attention particularly in the 20 plus countries where suicide remains illegal.
We are working hard to bring attention to traditionally marginalised groups. From highlighting awareness campaigns throughout the global south in the run up to World Mental Health Day; to bringing attention to the challenges of mental health amongst low and middle-income countries.
Marking Pride month in June, we highlighted work taking place with partners tackling stigma amongst the LGBTQIA+ community around the world, accessing the care and help they need.
We helped launch a major new financing initiative for youth mental health. We have been delighted to work over the past 18 months on the development and launch of Being.
Together with Fondation Botnar, Grand Challenges Canada, and a growing list of other organisations, we helped build a new mental health initiative that is designed to improve the lives of millions of young people by providing vital additional funding to support research and action at the country level and linking that up to drive change globally.
We continued our work to ensure mental health is fully integrated in efforts to successfully end the spread of HIV and TB. With mental health now meaningfully part of the Global Fund’s new five-year strategy, thanks to advocacy by UnitedGMH and our partners, there will be opportunities through the 2023-2025 allocation to dramatically reduce HIV infection and TB case rates, and improve the lives of those most at risk of, or living with, HIV and TB.
We took our research to Montreal at this year’s AIDS 2022 conference and worked with multiple partners to raise awareness and support, and we launched a communications toolkit for the Global Fund Replenishment and for World AIDS Day to help all our partners keep making the case for action.
Strengthening Health Systems
We are committed to ensuring mental health is fully integrated in Universal Health Coverage. Since 2021 we have been publishing briefings to help advocates make the case for the integration of mental health in UHC.
This year we have worked with partners in a range of countries, particularly, Pakistan, Ghana and South Africa, to help them advocate for change.
In October 2022 we published a briefing document on the importance of Universal Health Coverage and mental health financing, which explored both the exponential benefits universal coverage for mental healthcare would provide; and also how coverage can be achieved.
This was followed up with the building of an advocacy toolkit dedicated to UHC 2023 will be a decisive year as we all prepare for the High Level Meeting on UHC.
The Global Mental Health Action Network (GMHAN) – a free-to-access membership organisation we established – has now grown to over 2200 members in 131 different countries.
It exists to connect people and resources to promote better mental health awareness and provision and the work of various working groups enabled people from around the world to work together to achieve change on a wide range of topics.
Over the past year we have run the monthly Mental Health For All webinar series (#MH4All): 17 webinars with over 90 expert speakers from across the world. The webinars are free and open to anyone, with attendees joining from over 70 countries on average at each webinar.
You can replay previous webinar recordings here, catch up on notes here and sign up for upcoming sessions here.
Thank you from all of us!
Thank you for the support of all our partners to help us achieve this – we couldn’t do it without you! We need to continue to push for less talk, more action and together continue to shine a light on global mental health for all.Key activities 2022