October the 10th is Mental Health Day, a very important day for Fondation d’Harcourt. The date was set up upon an initiative of the World Federation for Mental Health in 1992, and is dedicated to global mental health education, awareness and advocacy.
This year’s theme is: “Living with Schizophrenia”. Schizophrenia is a chronic, severe and debilitating mental illness that affects the lives of at least 26 million people globally (report of the World Federation for Mental Health’s Living with Schizophrenia), as well as their families and friends. According to the World Health Organization, schizophrenia is one of the leading causes of disability worldwide.
It has been estimated that more than 50% of people with schizophrenia cannot access adequate treatment. While 90% of these untreated patients live in the developing world, the stigma around schizophrenia is still very much present in developed countries. In fact, the shame and isolation associated with schizophrenia prevent people from seeking the help they need to live healthy and full lives.
To celebrate World Mental Health Day, we would like to share a video made by the organization Bring Change 2 Mind. This organization was founded by the world-famous actress Glenn Close, who’s own nephew suffers from schizophrenia. Their mission is to end the stigma surrounding mental illness through widely distributed Public Education Materials.
In our efforts to increase the access to mental health care, we also take the opportunity of this day to share some pictures of the community outreach work we are supporting in Uganda, through our partnership with the Peter Alderman Foundation. This program is essential to providing mental health services to communities that cannot reach proper clinics. The outreaches rely on the assistance of trusted community mobilizers who help us identify, contact and treat patients.