Vote For Your 2020 Mental Health Champion

To highlight the importance of dignity to those living with a mental health condition, the World Dignity Project will honour individuals and institutions that are making an outstanding contribution to fight for mental health and well-being for all, with equality of treatment and dignity in experience. Please vote now for your Mental Health Champion, so that their contribution can be recognized worldwide. Awards will be announced in June 2020 and awardees may choose to be interviewed about their work, and interviews will be publicised by the World Dignity Project.

 

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2020 Champion Nominees

Individuals with Lived experience of a mental disorder, families and carers

Matthew Jackman

Matthew is my best friend and biggest inspiration. After spending the bulk of his adult life as a carer for his two chronically mentally ill siblings (his mother died of suicide), he himself was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and subsequently hospitalised, giving him a unique lens as both a carer and user of the mental health system. Since his hospitalisation Matthew has selflessly dedicated his life to lived experience advocacy and academia to help give voices to people who are often ostracised and oppressed not only by wider society, but also the healthcare system. Matthew has spoken on panels for WHO, is part of regional executive committee for the global mental health peer network and was recently invited to speak in Australian parliament due to his advocacy work. Matthew uses his diagnosis as a strength and I would love to help him share that with the world.

Personal Website

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David Karorero

David KARORERO is a Global Mental Health Advocate for people living in emergency settings such as refugees, asylum seekers,… David himself started his advocacy while he was living in emergency settings as asylum seekers in Denmark, back home in Burundi he has been tortured before he fled the country and suffered from PTSD due to the traumatizing torturing experience. He started hubs in asylum centers in Denmark where the hubs are helping asylum seekers in counseling, capacity building, sports activities. He also started a mentoring program for refugees in East Africa, His project on how to integrate mental health support into existing services provision in refugee camps has been selected as one of the most innovative solutions during the WHO conference in April 2018. He is also a youth campaign team with the lancet commission on global mental health and sustainability. Everywhere he goes he always put mental health for people living in emergency settings at the center of all discussion

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Nicole Kennedy

She has been making immense contributions to the virtual landscape of Instagram, discussing mental illness, schizophrenia, and invisible illnesses. She has opened the floor for others to speak out about their experiences, as well as shedding light on her own. She is a speaker for the Schizophrenia Society of SK and has done over 25 speeches in just 3 months, all about mental health. She is planning a campaign for schizophrenia and is attending many events. I believe Nicole deserves to be nominated because she has done so much for others living with schizophrenia, mental illness, and invisible illness, as well as making others aware of what this disorder entails.

Instagram

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Dikatso Selemogwe

As a mental health service user with a journalism background, Ms Selemogwe’s reflections on her lived experience of mental illness provide an almost concrete access for a broad audience to the world of mental illness, stigma, flaunted human rights and institutionalisation. Her candid accounts of her experiences the illness allow for other people to introspect and take mental illness seriously. She puts to words the suffering caused by mental illness as well as processes that are meant to help but are actually causing harm making one feel like they have access to a 3-dimensional view of mental illness. Despite having received awards for her writing skills she has not been able to work as a journalist for a few years. She has used this challenge as an opportunity to show people how the current economic climate characterised by high unemployment rates, can lead to mental illness. She founded Embrace Emotions Support Network, a Botswana based mental health NGO.

Website

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Hannah Stewart

Ms. Stewart not only lives openly with her mental illness, but she also uses these lived experiences to inform her professional work. She is a dedicated global mental health researcher whose personal understanding of mental health concerns allows her to create research projects that are rights-based and person-centered. Additionally, she uses her platform at the American Public Health Association to write about mental health and human rights issues on the International Health blog. Most recently, Ms. Stewart started the global mental health working group within the International Health Section of the APHA.

Website

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Janet Laura Stewart

Janet Stewart is a rare example of a person who makes original contributions towards inclusion at the intersection of research, teaching, and care based on her experience living with a severe mental illness. Her first-person accounts reach multiple stakeholders, speaking to the perpetuation of “occupational ghettoization” by social systems while providing everyday solutions in Mental Health and Social Inclusion, to dispelling myths about recovery from psychosis for medical professionals in Schizophrenia Bulletin (https://doi.org/10.1093/schbul/sbx187) and her community in “My Uncle, Me, and Psychosis” in Montréal Writes. She has become a leader in advocating for persons living with mental illness using participatory research approaches on federally-funded grants (https://doi.org/10.1186/s13012-014-0119-7), lectures to healthcare students, presents at clinical grand rounds, provides training for certification of peer support workers, and leads an innovative co-designed program cultivating the dignity of persons living with severe mental illness. See the Mental Health section, RESUME on her website: http://lifescienceswriter.ca

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Charlene Sunkel

Charlene is a lived experience global mental health advocate who founded the first mental health peer network in 2018 aimed at representing every country and region from a lived experience perspective. Charlene has managed to gain national and international recognition as an advocate for persons with psychosocial disability, and have had amazing opportunities to participate and speak at national and international conferences, published articles in international medical journal; being guest lecturer at universities; serve on numerous national and international committees and boards; and have won several awards.

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Individuals

Abimbola Akinyemi

We are nominating mr Abimbola Akinyemi for his outstanding and consistent advocacy/ awareness campaign against stimatization of people living with mental disorders,most especially youths who are affected by excessive use of drugs/substance leading to mental disorders. In this part of our world where people living with mental disorders are subjected to a lot of humiliation and inhumane treatment.Members of the public are educated on how to treat them with dignity, because their is a thin line between sanity and insanity. So anyone can be in their shoes.

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Abdullah Dukhail Al-Khathami

Dr. AlKhathami create the “Innovative Patients’ Interview (5-Steps) Approach for providing Mental Health Care in Family/PHC practices”. This approach has been used as the guideline in patients interview in the Family practices &PHC centers in different countries such Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Morocco. Also, He is the founder and the leader of the primary mental health program in Saudi Arabia since 2003. AlKhathami is the senior trainer in the fields of primary mental health care and the training of the trainers courses all over the Saudi Arabia and in the EMRO region. He has modified the training and learning in Saudi Arabia from teacher-centered to Learners-centered Learning approach. Published different publications: Books, papers in different reviewed journals. All these commitments beside serving his patients as a primary mental health care and family medicine provider in PHC clinic encouraging me to nominate Dr. Abdullah AlKhathami

Website

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Theresa Betancourt

For almost 20 years, Dr. Betancourt has been conducting research, championing interventions and drawing attention to the plight of children affected by armed conflict which is now a global challenge

Website

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Michael C LaFerney RN.PMHCNS,BC Ph.D

He has focused on the mental health needs of older adults the past few years and has written several papers using evidence –based research to challenge and improve mental health treatment. These include: the using of ineffective medications to treat the behavioral issues of patients in long-term care settings .He points out non-medication behavioral ways to do this. This paper was noted worldwide- including the Australian Alzheimer’s association. HE has looked at how nurse’s cognitive patterns affect how prn (as needed ) medication for behaviors and pain is administered in long-term settings, and how we are not utilizing them effectively. He has advocated against the involuntary psychiatric admissions of patients with dementia, His paper on how to maximize psych consults in nursing home is used as a model in Massachusetts by consultants. He has published several articles on mental health topics -several in little researched areas. These include suicidal ideation in nursing home patients, the affect alcohol and drug use has on the treatment of Behcet’s disease and other chronic illnesses. He has advocated for “orphan diseases” and has written about the effect of depression in Chronic Fatigue syndrome. He has written about how nurses sometimes mistake emotional reasoning from empathy and the effect this has on the healthcare system in terms of time ,money, and the patent treatment. He is now focusing on teaching Social psychology principles to nurses to improve care and compliance in treatment and rehabilitation. He looks at the treatment of Vaso-vagal syncope and how Psychiatry can aid this.

Website

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Dr. Susan Mary Lawlor

Dr. Susan Mary Lawlor is a kind, caring and passionate humanitarian who has worked on a voluntary capacity for over a decade in the area of mental fitness with her late brother Dr. Martin Lawlor until his untimely death last Christmas. Since then, despite her own personal loss and tragic circumstances Susan has continued to keep their work alive. She continuously delivers talks and interactive workshops to local and national sporting, youth clubs and centres of education to ensure that mental health is normalised and provides a voice to young people who may otherwise feel unheard. She also provides hundreds of free counselling and psychotherapeutic sessions to adolescents and adults who need support but who cannot afford to pay for private help. She is currently delivering free mental health programs to local sporting and youth clubs which will provide coaches with the skillset to support young people who are seeking help.

Website

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Lim Su Lin

Su Lin was a policy Analyst with a Malaysian public policy think tank working predominantly on mental health in Malaysia. She significantly contributed to investigating the state of mental health in Malaysia, in regards to prevalence, public healthcare, workforce & stigma. This was the first document and contribution to analysing mental health policy in Malaysia. She also contributed multiple opinion articles to local newspapers on the variety of issues involved in mental health and mental health policy in Malaysia.

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Monique A. Lynch

She is a Youth Ambassador, Leader and Author who has served in numerous roles in CARICOM, Commonwealth, United Nations and national youth bodies serving at-risks youths, advocating and working with persons with mental disorders. In 2017, she started a support group for families living with mentally ill persons and has done tremendous work in her community and on a national stage in the area of mental health with the hosting of several workshops, training and seminars. She has also provided new literature on mental health through her research and several publications, adding to the limited pool of data where Jamaica is concerned. With one residential psychiatric hospital in Jamaica and the Caribbean, she adopted the hospital in 2019, providing them with 8 donations including the renovation of a ward and has committed to assisting them in 2020 in a similar fashion with the addition of a cash donation.

Instagram

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Pasqueline Njau

Pasqueline is a passionate mental health champion who has done so much to support the mental well-being of the mothers through Calmind Foundation, the organization she founded. Among her many accomplishments is a whatsapp group that she started to support pregnant and new mothers and offer free counselling services. The 153 young mothers in the group have greatly benefitted from this program. She has also been running support group sessions in Kawangware slum. The sessions that were launched late last year have seen 23 moms benefit from the support group sessions which aims at educating them on how to take care of their mental wellbeing as well as connect those suspected to have a mental illness to help. With the help of mental health professionals, she formulated a brochure with information on maternal mental health which they give to attendees at events that Calmind Foundation hosts. Because of her work she has been invited severally on national television channels to give her thoughts and input on matters related to mental health.

Website

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Paul Adekunle Pelemo

Kunle Pelemo has been an advocate of mental health and suicide prevention in Nigeria and also reaching out to other parts of Africa and the entire world. In a country where mental health awareness is at the barest minimum, Kunle is championing a great cause called Live And Not Die ( #LAND) which creates awareness, encourages statistical data collation about mental health and suicide in the area, and also offers support for people with related issues. He even presents a show on mental health and suicide prevention on an online radio; MZ Radio London.

Website

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Danielle Poole

I enthusiastically nominate Danielle (Dani) Poole as a 2020 Mental Health Champion. In the six years I have known Dani, her achievements and dedication toward improving the mental health of vulnerable populations around the world have had direct impact. Dani’s research addresses the mental health needs of populations in humanitarian crises. She has identified and brought to the attention of international stakeholders a key mental health gap among refugees: an unacceptable prevalence of depressive disorder, which increases with time spent in seeking asylum. An innovation of this study was the representative inclusion of women – allowing for gender-disaggregated prevalence estimates. Next, she demonstrated the equity of a two-step screening process for high volume mental health screening. In working with her on this project, I witnessed her drive to develop methods that would improve mental health in crises settings. I whole-heartedly nominate her as a 2020 Mental Health Champion.

Website

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Dr Jyotsna Singh

Mind care is doing lot of work in rural areas.

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Uchennna Lizmay Umeh

A former Lieutenant Colonel in the US Air Force, Uchenna L. Umeh (Dr. Lulu aka The Momatrician) is also a board-certified pediatrician, global speaker on youth suicide, 2-time bestselling author, and youth suicide activist. She is a Nigerian born, mother of three and the CEO of Teen Alive, and Dr. Lulu’s Youth Health Center, both dedicated to suicide prevention and high-risk teens. In 2016 she started speaking out publicly following suicides of colleagues, and a patient, and has herself suffered from a depressive crisis and suicidality. A regular on media outlets, she is currently creating her own show on public television in San Antonio called: Your Wellness and You with Dr. Lulu, in addition to her podcast (Suicide Pages with Dr. Lulu) and blog (Words by Black Butterfly). Her work has been recognized by the “Nigerians in the Diaspora Commission” of Nigeria, and the Texas State House of Representatives.

Website

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Non-Governmental Organizations & Charities

Global Mental Health Peer Network

The Global Mental Health Peer Network (GMHPN) was established as a platform for people with lived experience with mental health conditions to share journeys, experiences, perspectives, views and opinions while embracing humanity, appreciate diversity and uniting voices of persons with lived experience with mental health conditions. Since the GMHPN was formerly established in 2018, the organisation has already become globally recognised and achieved a much in a short space of time. The GMHPN is currently represented by 21 countries and 5 of the 6 world regions, at executive level, with 31 global lived experience leaders being the driving force behind change and transformation, and promoting dignity and equality of persons with lived experience. The GMHPN has a rich and diverse lived experience expertise among its management; executive structures and membership, who to date have provided perspectives and recommendations to high level strategic documents and high level engagement platforms.

Website

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International Platform on Mental Health "Mental Health: global challenges" under Viktor Vus

Viktor Vus is Coordinator of the International Platform on Mental Health “Mental Health: global challenges”. We are the platform for Social Initiatives, for dissemination of leading ideas and experience, for support of building academic and professional networks, developing future collaborations between researchers and professionals across the different regions of the world. Since 2017 Viktor Vus organizes annual International Conference “Mental Health; global challenges of XXI century”. The Conference is doing the attempt to rise the social awareness, to facilitate social changes, to support Governmental initiatives, to develop qualitative skills of professionals. So we try to commute all main actors in the field of Mental Health. Thus, Governmental, International, Religious, Academic, Research, Educational and Civil Institutions, Volunteer Movements took part in the Conference activities. Among our Honorable Guests Partners and Speakers were: WHO International Medical Corps Interdisciplinary Council on Development and Learning Médecins Sans Frontières EMDR Europe Association National Institute of Health (Italy) The main Conference results are: social awareness-rising campaign, geographical diversification, research contributions, partnership building. social awareness-rising campaign. This Conference is organized not as temporal event, but as continuing act. We organize activities between these annual Conferences. Thus, in 2018 we organized several seminars and workshops in Ukraine. In January 2019 we organized National Round table meeting on rehabilitation of ex-combatants and their families. In May 2019 – International Public-Scientific Initiative ”Community: health, human potential, socio-economic innovations”. For example, our audience for Event was more than 2 600 participants geographical diversification. There were participants from Algeria, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Cyprus, Finland, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Taiwan, Ukraine, United Kingdom, USA on our Conference research contributions. The MHGC Proceedings and Journal “Mental Health: global challenges” were established partnership building. We are doing the attempt to establish cooperation regarding MHGC globally. Among our participants were Governmental Institutions, Directors and Presidents, Vice-Directors, Vice-Rectors, Deans of the Faculties, Heads of the Departments, Professors and Specialists

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My Mind Our Humanity

It’s youth led and youth focused. It runs both online and local mental health events to promote mental well-being. It’s the best inclusive and diverse group

Website

Instagram

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Sound Mind Republic

SoundMindRepublic is a nonprofit mHealth initiative I started to address Mental Health Challenges in my country where mHealth as been relegated to the background. First project was free psychosocial intervention services for Prison inmates. Aim is reconciliation with family, assisting inmates build Social support. So far, this programme has successfully helped 8 inmates. Rural rugged Sensitization: We run this programme in rural communities to help rural people through psychoeducation correct faulty beliefs and practices about mental disorders. For instance, some of them believe Mental Disorders are as a result of god’s anger, punishment or vengeance, then sorting treatment the wrong ways instead of visiting mHealth clinics. Two communities Samonda and Apete has benefited from this outreach. We intend to reach out to as many communities as possible. Advocacy: we advocate through social media, public speaking, campaigns that leaders should invest more in mental health, make/review and implement mental Health policies that are of the interest of the people and are Substantial. Mental health blog. We blog using word press to educate wider audience on mental health. ASAP: Our anti substance abuse programme targets to eradicate the surge in/of abuse of Substance by providing young ones with kills and information to enable them make informed choices. ASAP is of two categories- ‘Catch Them Young ASAP’ which targets young people in secondary schools, between the ages of 11 to 20. So far, we have been to 2 schools meeting over 500 students and following up on drug abuse cases. ‘Campus ASAP’ which we plan to launch on 1st of March which is also World University Mental Health Day. Our vision for Campus is to visit all Nigerian Universities, change the narrative using evidence based practice. Free counselling and psychotherapy for people with varying MD, where we assist people resolve internal conflicts and empower them to live a fulfilling life and contribute positively to their community. We are planning to develop a therapy app. By a click, patients connects to a trained Therapist and can get referrals for other medical treatments.

Website

Supporting Documents

Sound Mind Republic

SoundMindRepublic is a nonprofit mHealth initiative I started to address Mental Health Challenges in my country where mHealth as been relegated to the background. First project was free psychosocial intervention services for Prison inmates. Aim is reconciliation with family, assisting inmates build Social support. So far, this programme has successfully helped 8 inmates. Rural rugged Sensitization: We run this programme in rural communities to help rural people through psychoeducation correct faulty beliefs and practices about mental disorders. For instance, some of them believe Mental Disorders are as a result of god’s anger, punishment or vengeance, then sorting treatment the wrong ways instead of visiting mHealth clinics. Two communities Samonda and Apete has benefited from this outreach. We intend to reach out to as many communities as possible. Advocacy: we advocate through social media, public speaking, campaigns that leaders should invest more in mental health, make/review and implement mental Health policies that are of the interest of the people and are Substantial. Mental health blog. We blog using word press to educate wider audience on mental health. ASAP: Our anti substance abuse programme targets to eradicate the surge in/of abuse of Substance by providing young ones with kills and information to enable them make informed choices. ASAP is of two categories- ‘Catch Them Young ASAP’ which targets young people in secondary schools, between the ages of 11 to 20. So far, we have been to 2 schools meeting over 500 students and following up on drug abuse cases. ‘Campus ASAP’ which we plan to launch on 1st of March which is also World University Mental Health Day. Our vision for Campus is to visit all Nigerian Universities, change the narrative using evidence based practice. Free counselling and psychotherapy for people with varying MD, where we assist people resolve internal conflicts and empower them to live a fulfilling life and contribute positively to their community. We are planning to develop a therapy app. By a click, patients connects to a trained Therapist and can get referrals for other medical treatments.

Website

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Taskeen Health Initiative

Taskeen Health Initiative is a non-profit that works on promoting mental health and preventing mental illness in Pakistan. What makes this organization unique, is that its leadership team comprises of people with lived experiences of either suffering from or providing care to those affected by mental health problems. Founded in 2015 their main activities have included community-based workshops and digital activities (social media campaigns, TV talk show discussions, online mental health portal). Until the end of December 2019, they had reached 20,000 people through community-based workshops, 4 million people through digital activities and facilitated 30,000 people to get the help that they need. Their pioneering work has received widespread acclaim, enabling them to develop partnerships with major media channels and being chosen by United for Global Mental Health to represent Pakistan in “Speak Your Mind”; a global mental health advocacy campaign comprising of teams from more than 20 countries.

Taskeen (تسکین : “to comfort”) is a non-profit that aims to change people’s attitudes, behaviors and perceptions towards health and well-being in Pakistan. we believe that a healthy mind, body, emotions and relationships are essential for us to lead happy and healthy lives, and be able to form healthy families for a healthy society and a healthy Pakistan.Taskeen is doing a marvelous job by providing knowledge to the community by their digital programs. They express mental health as a part of whole health. As we know how mental health effect other domain of individual health like physical, spiritual, social. Publishing survival stories of an individual to desensitized people affecting by the stigma related to mental health. They are also reaching to the community by implementation research project to see how efficient it can be to promote knowledge and promote health seeking behaviors. They are also focusing on the family dynamics and environment of an individual.

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Tough Enough to Care under Stuart John Bratt

Following the Suicide of 2 close friends, Stu setup Tough Enough To Care to get men to talk about their mental health problems. In less than 12months he has setup 2 separate men’s support groups, become a registered charity and worked around the clock to deliver drop in sessions and talks to loads of different work places and sports clubs. All whilst working full time and looking after a young family. His charity has also attended people in crisis to intervene in suicide attempts.

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