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Mental Health

Right now, millions of people in the world’s poorest places are struggling to cope with mental health conditions but are not getting the care they urgently need. When people can’t meet their basic physical needs their mental health is often overlooked.

Mental health conditions are the world’s leading cause of disability. They affect over 450 million people and 80% live in low-or middle-income countries with little to no access to treatment or support. Instead, they face extreme poverty, stigma and discrimination.

Challenges of mental health issues in low-income countires

Most low-income countries spend less than 1% of their budgets on mental health care, meaning mental health support is massively overlooked.

  • Mental health conditions are often stigmatised, leading to huge discrimination and social isolation and a range of human rights abuses.
  • Many areas with high rates of poverty lack awareness and understanding of mental health conditions, meaning many people are scared and reluctant to find help.
  • In communities with limited resources, there is often no access to mental health services. Even if services are available, they might not be easily accessible.
  • Mental health issues can have a major impact on education and employment, with many believing they aren’t worthy of going to school or getting jobs – or even making decisions for themselves. Without access to education, people are less likely to escape poverty.

By supporting people with mental health conditions we can work towards creating a better world for everyone.

A nurse wearing green sits down and smiles at the camera.

“I am very passionate about mental health. There is a benefit if they are included. Just finding someone to talk with, to sit down with, to share your worries with, there is a benefit.”

Hope, is one of five mental health professionals supported by CBM’s partner working in Kilifi County, Kenya, which has a population of over 1.4 million people.

Our Work

We have decades of experience working to improve the lives of people with mental health conditions in some of the world’s poorest places.

  • By partnering with communities, health authorities, and people with lived experiences of mental health conditions, we continuously improve access to mental health support.
  • We merged with mental health NGO, BasicNeeds, to increase our technical expertise and capacity.
  • We provide vital support to people with mental health conditions and their families such as setting up peer-support groups.
  • We improve access to community-based treatment by training health and community workers to identify and understand mental health conditions.
  • We support people with psychosocial disabilities (those caused by mental health conditions) and their families to earn a living. For example, vocational training and support to set up small businesses.
  • We tackle the stigma and discrimination by training and supporting those who have lived experience of mental health conditions to share their stories. This promotes more understanding in their communities.
  • We improve access to counselling and psychological support at times of humanitarian crisis.
  • We use our expertise and understanding to train and support other organisations to address mental health and include those with psychosocial disabilities in development and humanitarian work. For example, through the CBM Global Community Mental Health Good Practice Guides.

Our impact

Together, we’re changing lives every day by providing support and treatment to people living with mental health conditions, training healthcare professionals and raising awareness of this neglected issue in communities.

A woman wearing a grey t shirt smiles at the camera.
People received support or treatment for mental health conditions
A woman wearing a purple jumper and a CBM jacket sits down and smiles at another woman who has her back to the camera, wearing a blue headscarf.

Donate now

You can make a difference to those facing mental health issues in the world’s poorest communities.