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In 2013, CBM and partners provided education and rehabilitation services (386 projects) reaching 801,785 persons.
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World Mental Health Day 2012

A young man looking forlorn, standing outside a building
© CBM/Hartung
With professional help and emotional support, Ansinu is recovering from severe depression in Sierra Leone Psychiatric Hospital

CBM recognises World Mental Health Day, which this year, on October 10, highlights a global crisis: Depression.

DEPRESSION: A Global Crisis

Depression is estimated to affect 350 million people at any time, making it the most common mental disorder and one of the leading causes of disability worldwide.

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.

Treatment gap in low-income countries

By 2030, the WHO estimates that depression will be the single largest contributor to the global disease burden.  The growing rates of depression are of particular concern for low-income countries.

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.

CBM working in the field of mental health

CBM works with local partners to support mental health work in the poorest countries in the world. In Sierra Leone, CBM’s Enabling Access to Mental Health programme (funded by the EU and in partnership with GIP) is working to address this treatment gap.

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

A young man sitting, looking forlorn; a woman is smiling, with her arm around him ©CBM/Hartung
Ansinu with his mother at Sierra Leone Psychiatric Hospital
35 year-old Ansinu (not his real name) was admitted to the Sierra Leone Psychiatric Hospital in June 2012 with severe depression. At that time he was not speaking or eating, and had been sleeping on the street for over a year.

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.

More info (external websites)

Read more about CBM's work in Community Mental Health

Community Mental Health

People with psychosocial disabilities are often ‘invisible’, have limited access to services and are excluded from full participation in community life.

Overview, including news and stories

Global health issue

Julian Eaton
"Depression, if unchecked, constitutes a major public health issue that has a profound impact on the economy of a country, as well as the obvious suffering involved at a personal level."
Dr Julian Eaton
CBM Mental Health Advisor

According to the World Health Organization, unipolar depressive disorders were ranked as the third leading cause of the global burden of disease in 2004 and will move into the first place by 2030.
World Federation for Mental Health, October 2012
Download (~436 kb)


I had a black dog, his name was depression


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