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Improving the lives of people with mental illness: BasicNeeds UK merges with CBM UK

Posted on July 21, 2017 by Comments are off

People living with mental illness in low-and middle-income countries are some of the world’s most marginalised people. Mental health conditions such as depression are the leading cause of disability worldwide, often causing immense suffering and preventing people from earning a living or participating in their community. BasicNeeds is therefore excited to announce our merger with leading disability organisation, CBM UK thus creating a new strong global voice on mental health in development.

Adrian Sell, CEO of BasicNeeds says:

“I am delighted that we are able to announce the merger of CBM UK and BasicNeeds UK. For over seventeen years BasicNeeds has been a highly effective and influential international NGO that has developed a way of reaching the poorest to improve their mental health. Founded in 2000, BasicNeeds has developed a model for working that has been tested in fifteen countries across four continents. We have successfully reached over 700,000 people affected by mental illness and epilepsy and their family members in a very wide range of resource poor settings across Africa and Asia.

Like CBM’s founder Pastor Ernst Christoffel a hundred years before him, BasicNeeds’ founder Chris Underhill MBE was moved to help people who were being neglected by others. In Chris’s case he saw that those with mental health problems had needs that were often not even acknowledged by their community or society. BasicNeeds has helped to move the world from ignoring the plight of people with mental illness to a position where, today, there is growing interest and research into how we can respond effectively to the needs of people with mental ill health in developing countries. By demonstrating that something can be done, BasicNeeds has both improved people’s lives and helped to persuade funders and policy makers to act.

Building on this success BasicNeeds is excited by the potential of joining with CBM to greatly increase the positive impact we can have on people with mental health problems. Through working together we can combine our expertise and resources and become a leading global voice and source of expertise on mental health in development.”

Kirsty Smith, Chief Executive of CBM UK says:

“For many people, the word disability still conjures up a picture of a person using a wheelchair or a white stick, but in fact mental health conditions are the world’s leading cause of disability, affecting over 450 million people at any given time.  And while the UK is seeing, at long last, increasing awareness of and commitment to invest in mental health, the situation in low- and middle-income countries where 8 out of 10 people with mental disorders live, is very different. There, most people have no access to mental health treatment or support. The extent of the suffering this causes, and the social and economic cost, is shocking. 

From its foundation, CBM has been driven to reach those whom others leave behind. More than a century ago, our founder Pastor Ernst Christoffel was moved to help blind street children whom others barely noticed. Ever since, CBM has been working to help men, women and children with disabilities, and those at risk of disability, recognizing that they’re often the poorest and most excluded in their communities. Since 2002, we’ve been working to support people with mental health conditions in the world’s poorest places. This exciting merger with BasicNeeds will help us expand and develop our mental health work alongside our important programmes supporting people affected by blindness and other types of disability, to help meet this huge and neglected need.”

Thanks to the merger, BasicNeeds mental health programmes in 9 countries in Africa and Asia will continue and become stronger thanks to CBM’s global infrastructure and support. For its part, CBM sees the potential to strengthen their work on mental health to complement its existing strengths in disability inclusive development.

Through working together we can combine our expertise and resources and become a leading global voice and source of expertise on mental health in development.

Mental health around the world

- More than 450 million people globally will have a mental health problem at any time. One in four people worldwide will experience a mental health condition in their lifetime.

- Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, and is a major contributor to the overall global burden of disease. Mental disorders are responsible for more than 10% of the global disease burden.

- 80% of people with mental health problems live in low-and middle-income countries.  In low-income countries, people are more likely to experience poverty, unemployment, migration, and poor health and education systems, all of which increase vulnerability to mental illness.

- In low- and middle-income countries, between 76%-85% of people with mental disorders receive no treatment, compared to 35-50% in high-income countries.

- See more at World Health Organisation Fact file on mental health

BasicNeeds Annual Report 2016

Posted on April 20, 2017 by Comments are off

We are delighted to share with you our Annual Report for 2016.

With your support, over 686,000 lives have been transformed since we began work in 2000. Over the years, we have seen great improvements in people’s access to community-based mental health treatment, their ability to work and be involved in family and community life.

Thank you very much for your support and we hope you enjoy reading this year’s report.

Click here to download the report. 

 

World Health Day 2017

Posted on April 7, 2017 by Comments are off

The theme of this year’s World Health Day campaign celebrated on 7th April, is ‘Depression: Let’s talk’.

Depression is a common mental health disorder and globally more than 300 million people of all ages suffer. It is the leading cause of disability worldwide, and is a major contributor to the overall global burden of disease.

The one-year campaign launched by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on 10th October, World Mental Health day last year, is an opportunity to have a better understanding of what depression is, and how it can be prevented and treated. It also aims to reduce the stigma associated with the condition, and lead to more people seeking help.

BasicNeeds has been supporting people with mental illness including those with depression since we began work in 2000. To date, over 686,000 people with mental illness, their carers and family members have benefitted from our programmes.

Find out how we are reaching people with depression in resource-poor settings here. With more than 300 million people suffering from the illness, investment in treatment for depression is good for health and for economies, read more here.

The World Health Day campaign essentials, handouts and posters are now available to download from the WHO website.

Share your events and activities on the online campaign app.

For further updates, follow the hashtag #LetsTalk on Twitter.

BasicNeeds Programme Evaluator’s study visit to Ghana

Posted on March 30, 2017 by Comments are off

In 2014, BasicNeeds received a grant from Grand Challenges Canada (GCC) to scale up our community-based mental health care and support in Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya through a social franchise approach.  This grant has provided the opportunity for BasicNeeds staff to mentor and support other organisations in these countries to increase their capacity and ability to deliver the BasicNeeds Model.

The social franchisees delivering the BasicNeeds programme are: Voice Ghana in Ghana; Caritas Nyeri in Kenya; and Gede Foundation in Nigeria. Alongside the scale up, an evaluation is being conducted at BasicNeeds Ghana and Voice Ghana. The evaluation adopts mixed methods in order to assess and compare the implementation, impact and cost-effectiveness of the traditional approach (delivered through BasicNeeds Ghana) to the social franchise approach (delivered through Voice Ghana) to scaling up. BasicNeeds’ Programme Evaluator, Tatiana Los, who went on a recent study visit to Ghana, reports:

“This was my second study visit to Ghana and it was wonderful to be warmly welcomed by familiar faces at both BasicNeeds Ghana and Voice Ghana. I spent two weeks working with each programme. During this time I was able to provide training to programme and support staff on how to collect some of the quantitative evaluation data. As part of the evaluation, I also conducted key informant interviews and focus group discussions with a wide range of stakeholders, including people with mental illness and epilepsy; their caregivers; programme staff; service providers and community volunteers. These interviews explored perceptions of the implementation and impact of the programme, as well as its acceptability, feasibility and sustainability; and any facilitators or barriers to delivery. I felt incredibly grateful to have had the chance to hear and learn first-hand from these different key stakeholders on their perspectives and experiences of the programme.

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Training programme staff and data collectors on evaluation data collection

During my visit, I also had the opportunity to observe some of the programme activities including self-help group meetings; livelihood activities; community awareness activities; and outreach clinics. As a part of the BasicNeeds programme, people with mental illness and epilepsy are supported to form self-help groups (SHGs), where they can access peer support from one another as well as livelihood opportunities.

I was delighted to attend a SHG meeting in a rural village in the Upper East Region. The meeting was attended by 14 participant and caregiver members and took place under a tree. The meeting opened with a prayer and then the group’s secretary started by recapping on what was discussed in their previous meeting. The SHG members deliberated on the upcoming rainy season, the potential to do some farming as a group, and the possibility of distributing some of their monthly contributions in order to purchase tools and materials required for farming. The BasicNeeds Ghana team have provided the members of this SHG with beehives so that they can begin bee-keeping and making honey. At the end of the SHG meeting the BasicNeeds Ghana Project Officer presented a bee-keeping kit to the group members, which was very warmly received with great excitement and gratitude. One of the group members tried on the bee-keeper suit and the group were advised by the Project Officer on how to use it.

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Training self-help group members how to wear and use the bee-keeping kit

Voice Ghana is based in Ho Municipal and the team work to deliver programme activities all over the Volta Region. During my visit to Voice Ghana, I had the chance to observe the Programme staff providing some participants with livelihood support. Two participants were farmers and had expressed the need for various tools and materials to support their farming activities. Following a livelihood assessment, Voice Ghana provided them with farming tools and materials, including a pressure sprayer, Wellington boots, herbicide and fertiliser to help improve their farming production. The participants were very grateful for the support and said that these tools would enable their farm work to be more productive. Another young female participant was provided with soaps and detergents so that she could trade them and earn a living. She said that she would invest any profit into buying new products to trade, and that selling these products would help her to support herself and her family to meet their daily needs.

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Voice Ghana Programme Support Officer giving farming tools and materials to a participant

Since I left Ghana, the teams at BasicNeeds Ghana and Voice Ghana have continued to work incredibly hard to collect evaluation data. Their support has been invaluable and the evaluation would not be possible without their motivation and commitment to collect accurate data. On returning to the UK, I have being providing remote support to the teams in Ghana and have started to transcribe the interviews, focus group discussions and field notes, with the valued support of our wonderful BasicNeeds Research volunteers. Once complete, the transcriptions will be analysed before being written up into a final report. The results of the evaluation are planned to be submitted for publication in December this year.

In all, I had an incredibly enlightening and productive study visit to Ghana and I look forward to ongoing collaboration with both BasicNeeds Ghana and Voice Ghana teams.”

International German Forum on global health and innovation

Posted on March 28, 2017 by Comments are off

Dr CC

Dr Chantharavady during a working group session on mental health

“What matters to people—global health and innovation” was the theme of the Third International German Forum that was held at the Federal Chancellery in Berlin in February 2017. Dr Chantharavady Choulamany, BasicNeeds Lao PDR Programme Manager and winner of last year’s Dr Guislain Award, was one of the 150 participants from 25 countries who was invited to attend the forum.

Launched in 2013 as a supplementary discussion to the G20 meetings, this international forum was created by Chancellor Angela Merkel to serve as a platform where experts from politics, industry, science and research, and civil society can engage in discussions on the issues that will define our future. With this year’s focus on health, the form focused on four main topics: (i) using the potential of information and communications technology (ICT), (ii) improving the use of antibiotics, (iii) fighting neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), and (iv) mental health – overcoming the taboo.

Professor Vikram Patel from London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and Public Health Foundation of India, was the main speaker for the session on mental health. He focused on prevention as a way of addressing the treatment gap along with access to quality community-based mental health care services. He called for an open dialogue on mental health by supporting people with mental disorders to speak out, share their stories and call for action. With mental health included in the Sustainable Development Agenda, the time is now to act.

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