‘Mental Health in an Unequal World’
Survivors of Suicide is once again taking part in World Mental Health Day with this year's theme being ‘Mental Health in an Unequal World’.
We, at SOS, recognize that Mental Health is NOT treated equally throughout the world, be it differences in geographical location, health care funding, or simply, our overall attitude towards Mental Health and to those in need.
We aim to provide a 'virtual medium', enabling access to Mental Health Peer Support online as a means of bridging the gap. With over 2,000 active members hundreds of visitors to our In-World location weekly, we are proud of our ever growing outreach to those in crisis.
The theme chosen for 2021 will highlight that access to mental health services remains unequal, with between 75% to 95% of people with mental disorders in low and middle-income countries unable to access mental health services at all, and access in high income countries is not much better. Significant lack of governmental investment towards mental health in proportion to the overall health budget contributes to the mental health treatment gap.
For decades, the prevalence of mental health conditions has been broadly unchanged; this trend changed in 2020 with the outbreak of the COVID‑19 pandemic. From March 2020 onwards, the prevalence of anxiety and depression increased. For example, in Belgium, France, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States, prevalence of anxiety in early 2020 was double or more than double the level observed in previous years; in Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, the Czech Republic, Mexico, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States, prevalence of depression in early 2020 was also double or more than double that observed in previous years.
Fortunately, for those affected by the Pandemic, Survivors of Suicide has been an online presence for those in need with a noticeable increase to our services. Our members are becoming actively involved in our peer group chat and also reaching out to our Mentors for a more private 1-1 discussion about their mental health and current difficulties. During this time, the use of online services have increased significantly and we continue to offer our services to those affected.
Another important factor worth considering is the global differences in funding for treatment of Mental Health. Unfortunately, Health Care across the globe differs between countries, the main issue being funding. In the UK people rely on the NHS. The NHS stands for the National Health Service, which provides health care for all UK citizens based on their need for medical care rather than their ability to pay for it. The NHS was established in 1948 as one of the major social reforms following the Second World War and is funded by taxes. However, across the Atlantic, people in the US are expected to pay for their health care as an additional extra, mainly via an insurance scheme. For those that cannot afford health care and who are not covered by Health Insurance, the facilities are somewhat limited and in some cases, non-existent.
For those that have difficulty receiving such care due to a lack of funding or insurance, SOS are here, once again, to offer free peer support and advice to everyone in need, irrespective of background, financial status or location. We treat all of our members equally with care, compassion and understanding without any discriminative ideologies.
Mental health stigma and discrimination is a global phenomenon, with severe consequences in terms of social exclusion and inequitable treatment towards people with experience of mental health conditions.
The impacts of stigma range from reducing engagement with clinical services (barriers to seeking help), less clinical care, including biases in healthcare provider behaviour in relation to people with mental health conditions. Forms of social exclusion may also appear in marriage, partnerships and a wide range of interpersonal relationships including harming occupational prospects in the workplace. Attitudes towards mental health also vary amongst ethnicities, cultures and countries which can further impact barriers to seeking help. This inequitable treatment often amounts to the denial of basic human rights that are the hallmarks of personhood.
Survivors of Suicide pledges to combat stigma by providing a safe environment for online users and Second Life citizens alike. Our aim is to offer an unprejudiced approach to Mental Health with an open door policy for support and communication without exception.
If you would like to participate in raising awareness for this topic or wish to attend our World Mental Health Day ‘Mental Health in an Unequal World’ Workshop on Sunday 10th October at 2pm SLT please feel free to get in touch for further details.
Director of Events
Survivors of Suicide