One of the unanticipated outcomes of starting a weekly blog is having total strangers read it and contact me. Roanne Johns, a mental health advocate, reached out to ask if I could consider letting her write a guest blog. Today is that day. Thank you, Mrs. Johns, for providing this guest blog about Global Mental Health. Having you do this has been good for my mental health.
Mental health is an issue near and dear to me. Many of the world’s problems and family feuds trace back to some unresolved mental health condition. There are numerous people in my family tree who have grappled with mental health challenges. I’ve had my own bouts of depression severe enough to benefit from professional intervention.
I trust you will find this guest blog insightful and helpful. Cheers.
Global Mental Health Crisis – by Roanne Johns
As the Global Mental Health crisis grows, the need for better access to services and care is skyrocketing. This was especially highlighted during the Covid-19 pandemic. WHO found a 25% increase in global prevalence of anxiety and depression in 2020 as many faced hardships during the lockdowns.
To achieve an inclusive and mentally healthy society, it’s important that everyone participate in advancing the global mental health movement. Thankfully, there are many ways to support and join the call for better mental health services. Here’s a look at how.
Participate in a Protest
Protests are a significant driver of many of the rights we enjoy today, including mental health rights. It’s no surprise that this practice has continued even during the restrictions of the pandemic. A previous HowWiseThen article on pandemics and protests shows how protests and pandemics are deeply woven into this country’s history. They date back to when the Pilgrims established Plymouth and The Great Dying of the 17th century.
Protests raise public awareness of issues that certain communities face — such as the disproportionate impact of the economic fallout from the pandemic, and the vulnerability of Black Americans to serious mental health problems. In a protest, your presence is enough to show support to the community and cement the validity and relevance of the call for better mental health funding and support. You can stay updated on the local protests around your area by checking the social media pages of advocacy organizations.
Join an Organization
For a deeper commitment, you may want to consider lending your time and skills — from writing, speaking, marketing, communications and more — to a nonprofit or NGO (non-government organization) to help these groups actualize the call for better mental health services.
NGOs and nonprofits often have different focuses, methods, and initiatives. Maryville University’s comparison of NGOs and nonprofits explains that NGOs are multinational bodies with political influence for large-scale changes. An example is the National Alliance on Mental Illness , which has a federal agenda and coordinates with Congress and the Executive Branch.
Nonprofits Rely on Grassroots Support
On the other hand, nonprofits focus more on grassroots initiatives like providing food, water, and healthcare to supporting education initiatives. Being smaller and locally based, many nonprofits coordinate with each other for wider-scale projects. For example, in May last year, more than 200 businesses and nonprofits united for the inaugural Mental Health Action Day to demand better access to quality, evidence-based treatment.
Start your research on the organizations nearest to you, as well as the steps for how you can contribute to their advocacies. Many of these organizations offer orientations for free, and would gladly welcome new members.
Beyond helping the community by lobbying for policies and donating, it’s also important to imbue the essence of the movement and practice being a good mental health advocate to those closest to you.
Advocacy can be tricky when our loved ones are involved. In times like these, the American Psychiatric Association says maintaining a connection with a loved one can be strong support for them as they receive care at their own pace. This means being patient through their recovery, even if it can be heart-wrenching to watch them struggle.
Let them know that you’re there and willing to listen, and most importantly, that seeking help is a sign of strength. Your visible support could help encourage them to talk with a mental health care provider.
Continue educating yourself. The more you understand about mental health, the better you’ll be able to support your loved ones, as well as others who are struggling around the world. Every movement starts with one person willing to help, and with everyone’s support and solidarity, the global movement towards improved mental health will continue to advance.
Roanne Johns is a stay-at-home mom training to become a licensed planning family consultant. She loves to help others through her writing, whether it be through advice or real-life experiences. Outside of her work, she does volunteer work in her community and cares for her grandfather, who has looked after her since she was young.
Mayflower Chronicles: The Tale of Two Cultures covers the Pilgrim’s escape from England and their interactions with the Pokanoket people. Available wherever books are sold in paperback, eBook, and audio.
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