More than 43 million Americans struggle with mental health problems. Approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental illness each year. In the developing world, mental health is considered one of the most neglected problems. In Africa, around 100 million people suffer from depression and 85% of them have no access to effective treatment.
These are just some key facts about mental illness and its devastating impact on our global society.
If you want to contribute to mental health awareness, education, and advocacy against social stigma, here are 5 charities you can donate to.
All of the organizations below are deemed particularly effective or accountable by charity evaluators or information services like Charity Navigator, Giving Compass and GuideStar.
Founded in early 2013 by Sean Mayberry, a former diplomat, StrongMinds is a charity that treats depression in African women, with a particular focus on Uganda and Zambia. The organization has devised a unique, low-cost intervention based on Group Interpersonal Psychotherapy which makes their methodology scalable. So far, StrongMinds has treated 55,000 African women for depression. 75% of them reported to be depression-free six months after treatment.
2) The Jed Foundation
JED is a nonprofit that protects emotional health and prevents suicide for teens and young adults. They're partnering with high schools and colleges to strengthen their mental health, substance misuse, and suicide prevention programs and systems. They are equipping teens and young adults with the skills and knowledge to help themselves and each other. They encourage community awareness, understanding and action for young adult mental health.
3) Brain & Behavior Research Foundation
The US-based Brain & Behavior Research Foundation funds scientific research to find cures for mental illnesses ranging from addiction to schizophrenia.
The foundation claims that 100% of every dollar donated for research is invested in research grants since the operating expenses are covered by two other family foundations. GuideStar awarded the organization with their Platinum Seal of Transparency, indicating that the foundation publicly shares their progresses and how they measure them.
4) NAMI - National Alliance on Mental Illness
Founded as a grassroots organization by families of people diagnosed with mental illness, NAMI has become a network of more than 500 local affiliates working in 50 US states to advance public policy for people with mental health problems.
Despite some criticism received in the past for being heavily funded by pharmaceutical companies, the organization retains a 4-star rating by Charity Navigator and a Platinum Seal of Transparency by GuideStar.
5) Rethink Mental Illness
In 1970, journalist John Pringle wrote a column in the British newspaper The Times about his son’s schizophrenia. In the following days, hundreds of family members of people living with mental illness contacted him sharing their experiences. It was the beginning of Rethink Mental Illness, a UK-based charity which provides services for people affected by mental illness and their carers.
Thanks to a network of 140 peer support groups, in 2017-2018, the organization helped thousands of people live a more independent life providing services that range from housing to group activities for patients leaving hospital.
Credit header image: Strongminds