1 in 4
Around the world, one in four people experiences a mental disorder or psychosocial disability in his or her lifetime
Of all people with mental illness or intellectually disability, 85% are in low- and middle-income countries
Mental and behavioral problems reduce lifespan by as much as 20 years
In some countries, 98% of people with mental illness and intellectually disability receive no treatment
source ILGA, GLSEN 2013
Sadly, in many countries around the world, neglect, incarceration, and immobilization of people living with mental health problems are human rights abuses that regularly occur.
The problem can stem from governments unable or unwilling to fund treatment for the community’s most vulnerable people. Further, wars, famines, and natural disasters have disastrous impacts on mental health, leaving people traumatized and without access to help. These crises can also destroy the physical infrastructure of care that would support people living with mental health problems and can cause health professionals to flee.
The greatest barrier to proper care and treatment worldwide is stigma. We cannot address mental health issues if no one talks about them. While the lives of those living with mental health problems are ignored, so is their suffering.
WITNESS CHANGE BELIEVES THAT THE NEGLECT OF PEOPLE WITH MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEMS IS AN ABUSE THAT MUST END.
WHAT WE’RE DOING ABOUT IT: DOCUMENTING THE LIVES OF THOSE WITH MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEMS
To document the mental health impact of disasters in sub-Saharan Africa, photographer Robin Hammond travelled to twelve countries. He documented the psychological trauma of conflicts and other disasters. He spent time with the displaced in refugee camps and saw the impact of corruption on facilities for the mentally ill.
Witness Change now embarks on a long-term project to include environments that adversely impact mental health, expanding to include the refugee crisis in Lebanon and the conflict in eastern Ukraine. A campaign website has been launched at onedayinmyworld.com
WHAT WE’RE DOING ABOUT IT: A BOOK AS ADVOCACY TOOL
Robin’s photographs were made into a photo book, CONDEMNED. We used this book to engage politicians and activists on the issue and supporters can send the book to an influential person.
In My World has been exhibited and published around the world; we’ve made presentations, consulted human rights organizations and kick started non-governmental mental health programmes . © photo by Birgit Krippner
WHAT WE’RE DOING ABOUT IT: DOCUMENTING A NEGLECTED ISSUE
Witness Change continues to highlight the plight of people living with mental health problems around the world. Learn how you can support the continuation of this campaign.