World Mental Health Day 2012
- © CBM/Hartung
CBM recognises World Mental Health Day, which this year, on October 10, highlights a global crisis: Depression.
DEPRESSION: A Global Crisis
Depression is usually characterised by constant sadness and loss of interest or pleasure in life, and can include feelings of guilt or low self-worth, disturbed sleep or appetite, tiredness and low energy, and poor memory and concentration. However, the exact pattern and severity varies between people, and can range from mild to severe depression, which can result in suicide. It can affect anyone at any stage of life and is often something that people are expected just to cope with - they are expected to ‘just get on with life’. In fact, depression is a very disabling condition, making it hard for people to work or carry out other duties, and to participate fully in society.
Depression can be treated with affordable and cost-effective methods, but, in low-income countries, the lack of financial and human resources allocated to even the most basic mental health services has resulted in a massive 'treatment gap'. In the poorest countries in the world it is estimated that only about 10% of people with depression receive the effective care they need.
By training people in the field of mental health, advocating for better services, and raising community awareness about the problem, more people like Ansinu will receive effective treatment and support to improve their quality of life and help them to be fully included in their communities again.
In detail, 2011:
In 2011 CBM-supported Mental Health professionals or community workers saw more than 67,000 separate clients with psychosocial disabilities and 25,000 clients with intellectual disabilities worldwide.
There were more than 175,000 interventions delivered to people with psychosocial disabilities, which reflects the inclusion of psychosocial interventions, membership of self-help groups and families receiving support (e.g. psycho-education and livelihood interventions).
CBM also provided training for over 1,000 mental health workers (psychologists, nurses, psychiatrists, social workers), as well as much larger numbers of short courses to generalists, and community worker training.
The cycle of mental illness and poverty
Ansinu worked as a truck mechanic for 10 years before becoming ill, and being the oldest child, this causes significant financial impact on his family, highlighting the vicious cycle of mental illness and poverty. His mother, now the sole bread-winner for seven people, has been visiting him every day, bringing him the food he loves and offering emotional support.
October 2012: Ansinu is now starting to engage with people and his surroundings. But he says that there are many people like him in the hospital experiencing similar illnesses. On a recent visit to the hospital CBM co-worker Heather Weaver asked Ansinu: “If you met somebody on the street who feels the way you do, what would you tell them to give them hope?” Ansinu responded: “Get treatment. With treatment, you can get better.”
His mother says proudly: "He is getting better every day. Very slowly. But he is getting better. I can see that!"
Sierra Leone Psychiatric Hospital is a key stakeholder in CBM’s five-year programme Enabling Access to Mental Health in Sierra Leone.