Giving Compass’ Take:
• Ara Johannes at IDR discusses the need to integrate mental health awareness into a wide variety of development programs, especially within marginalized communities.
• Johannes centers her piece in India. How does the struggle to create mental health awareness persist globally? How can you contribute to emphasizing mental health support systems in your own community?
We intuitively understand that living on the streets, being unemployed for extended periods, not knowing where one’s next meal is coming from, the constant threat of eviction or violence, or social exclusion on account of caste, gender, or sexual identity, would distress anyone. Mental distress in turn impacts the ability to hold a job or complete education, inhibits participation in social and family activities, decreases productivity, and diminishes resources within families. It isn’t surprising then, that those living with mental health conditions might simultaneously grapple with unemployment, low education, food insecurity, inadequate housing, and financial stress. Mental illness and poverty are thus intricate parts of a vicious cycle: poverty increases the risk of mental health conditions and conversely, those living with mental health conditions are more likely to drift into poverty.
Mental health clearly cannot be addressed in isolation. The WHO’s Comprehensive Mental Health Action Plan (2013–2020) advocates for ‘mainstreaming mental health interventions into health, poverty reduction, development policies, strategies and interventions’. Fostering linkages between mental health service providers and allied service providers—for livelihoods, health, education, legal support, and government welfare schemes—is important. At Mariwala Health Initiative (MHI), one way in which we facilitate this, is through a school-based mental health justice programme that addresses psychosocial distress within the education system. This is especially pertinent among vulnerable communities that face mental distress due to multiple axes of marginalisation. This programme aims to better equip educational spaces to enhance mental well-being among marginalised and vulnerable youth.
We need to locate mental health within economic, environmental, sociocultural, and political contexts. We also need to take a closer at how the intersections of poverty, casteism, misogyny, and other forms of violence impact mental health, and include it as a key ingredient across development programmes.
Read the full article about emphasizing mental health programs by Ara Johannes at India Development Review (IDR).
If you are looking for more articles and resources for Global Poverty, take a look at these Giving Compass selections related to impact giving and Global Poverty.
Looking for a way to get involved?
A good way to complement your interest in Disasters is to connect with others. Check out these events, galas, conferences or volunteering opportunities related to Disasters.
Are you ready to give?
Disasters is an important topic. Other members found these Giving Funds, Charitable Organizations and Projects aggregated by Giving Compass to be relevant to individuals with a passion for Disasters.