Supporting organisations in the Global South to challenge mental health stigma

Posted on: Tuesday, 1st September, 2020
Champions from India talking about mental health and their experiences.

Today, CBM, Time to Change Global and our partners are launching Conversations Change Lives – a global anti-stigma toolkit – to support organisations in the Global South to combat stigma around mental health in their communities.

Mental health conditions like depression are a major cause of disability and ill-health worldwide, often leading to immense suffering. People living in poverty are at greatest risk, routinely facing stigma and discrimination.

Together with Time To Change Global, we launched a new initiative in 2018 to tackle stigma and discrimination in Ghana, India, Kenya, Nigeria and Uganda. We’ve been working with local organisations and people with lived experience to promote understanding of mental health and challenge prejudice, to combat mental health stigma.

The Conversations Change Lives toolkit (open link in newt ab) aims to capture a snapshot of what stigma looks like in the five countries we’ve been working in and also shares some of the tools, materials, ideas & approaches that are helping to tackle stigma in those locations. The toolkit is rooted in the voices of our Champions from Gede Foundation in Nigeria, Mental Health Uganda, Mental Health Society of Ghana, Basic Needs Basic Rights Kenya and GASS in India, who have been taking action to end mental health stigma and discrimination.

Meet some of these amazing Champions:

Kabati, Nigeria

“I’m sharing my story so my child can have a better future. I want him to grow up in a world free from stigma. Every human being is important. We all deserve equal treatment.”

A women, Kabati, smiling with her quote written next to her.

Venkatesh, India

“People’s reactions to my mental health problems have ranged from pity to apathy. But I don’t care what people think. I write and sing poems to express the things I have been through and to help people talk about mental health.”

A man, Venkatesh, with his quote written next to him.

Martha, Ghana

“People try to attach spiritually and certain forms of bad omen to mental health problems. We need to change our beliefs. We need to change our thinking. We have to realise things happen and it’s no one’s fault.”

A women, Martha, smiling with her quote written next to her.

Brian, Kenya

“There was a lot of stigma from the teachers too. The stigma is mostly due to ignorance. Those teachers called me a devil worshipper, they said I was possessed, because they didn’t know about self-harm.”

A man, Brian, sitting on a step with his quote written next to him.

Christine, Uganda

“The stigma towards mental health conditions – the negative stereotypes and harmful ideas – result in limited resources assigned to mental health in the health budget.”

A women, Christine, sitting on a chair with her quote written next to her.

Read the Conversations Change Lives toolkit here (open link in new tab).

Find out more about CBM’s community mental health work in the world’s poorest communities here (open link in new tab).

Top image: Champions from India talking about mental health and their experiences.


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