A Global Pandemic Requires a Global Response to Mental Health

Mental illness can seem like a very personal challenge. However, billions of people all over the world are living with mental illnesses. Lack of access to resources and the stigma around mental health prevent people who need support from accessing guidance.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused some people living with depression and anxiety to feel unable to cope, resulting in increased alcohol use and higher risks for suicide. It’s not just you or your loved one facing mental health challenges; it’s people across the globe. So if you are struggling, know you are not alone.

Several amazing organizations and initiatives are working to end the stigma and secure effective treatment options. However, to solve this global crisis, communities in every corner of the planet need to take action. 

Access to Mental Health Treatment

Mental disorders and substance abuse disorders are the leading cause of disability worldwide, yet only 25 per cent of people living with these conditions get the help they need. Why?

In affluent, resource-rich countries, the stigma surrounding mental illness prevents those who need help from reaching out to seek support. Not to mention those living in more rural areas being geographically far from mental health treatment options and resources. 

Less affluent countries and countries that are affected by violence and conflict also experience stigma, but it is further compounded by the logistical lack of treatment options and access to care. 

In 2013 there was a surge in initiatives to improve access to mental health care;  in response, the World Health Organization launched its first mental health action plan. The targets of this 2013-2020 plan include creating “mental health and social care services in community-based settings.” But, the WHO isn’t the only organization making strides for more accessible mental health care and support. 

Grand Challenges Canada

Grand Challenges Canada is a government-funded organization that funds innovators and leaders in low-income communities. Their Global Mental Health Program funds innovations that improve access to mental health care and innovations in mental health treatment, especially for youth. So far, they’ve invested $45.3 million in 95 different projects. 

The World Bank

The World Bank is a global partnership with 189 member countries focused on ending poverty and promoting shared prosperity. To address the worldwide mental health crisis, they’ve hosted live events to spread awareness, created videos to educate viewers on mental illness and funded research papers that explore new modalities to treat mental illness. 

WHO Special Initiative for Mental Health

In 2018, the WHO Director-General announced that mental health was an area that needed accelerated action and more focus. The Special Initiative for Mental Health was created as a 5-year plan to offer 100 million more people “access to quality and affordable mental health care by 2023.” The initiative has already been implemented in 6 of the 12 countries it targets.

How We’re Supporting Mental Health

These large, government-funded organizations aren’t the only ones responsible for ensuring more people have access to mental health care. To do our part, Eli’s Place will provide treatment for young adults living with serious mental illnesses. We look forward to opening our doors to offer mental health treatment in a rural, residential setting for young adults living with mental illness so that more Canadians can live healthy, fulfilling, resilient lives. 

How YOU Can Help

Every one of us can help make access to mental health services possible. Volunteer your time with mental health organizations, fundraise, spread awareness, and make donations. If you’d like to support Eli’s Place so we can begin helping young adults living with mental illness, here are some ways to get involved.

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This March, CanadaHelps will make an additional one-time donation of $20 for every new monthly gift of $20 or more in support of Eli’s Place!*