World Mental Health Day this year is celebrated on the 10th of October. The theme is ‘Make Mental Health & Well-Being for All a Global Priority’.
At least one in eight of us around the world is affected by mental health issues, and in some countries it will be many more than that. In recent years we have experienced the covid pandemic; sharp rises in the cost of living; the climate crisis; drought and flooding and therefore reduced food crops for many; and fears of an international conflict growing from the war between Russia and Ukraine. For people all over the world these concerns have brought great anxiety.
Anxiety makes us vulnerable to other mental health problems. For some it will worsen physical health too. Mental health is affected by so many internal and external factors, yet around the world only a tiny proportion of the health budget is actually devoted to mental health services.
The World Health Organisation says that World Mental Health Day 2022 is a chance to “rekindle our efforts to protect and improve mental health.”
Jamie’s Fund has been working to support teams in the Protestant and Catholic church hospitals of Uganda as they reach out to their local communities. Not only have they been treating more patients with mental illness and epilepsy, but they have been meeting key leaders in their localities to explain how mental illness and epilepsy can be recognised, and how mental health can be improved for all in the community.
As the mental health teams reach out – many of the teams newly developed with Jamie’s Fund support – local people are surprised and very happy to discover that individuals whom they thought were possessed by demons or affected by witchcraft are actually suffering from mental health problems, and that treatment is available at the hospital or one of the new community clinics. Gradually more people are coming to see if the good news is really true.
Members of Jamie’s Fund are very encouraged by all the progress that has been made over the last few years, and we treasure the warm relationships we have with the young people who are carrying out this wonderful development. We are also immensely grateful for the friends who continue to support us with their donations.
Thank you for helping us to continue our efforts to protect and improve mental health for all.