Meet BasicNeeds: “BasicNeeds is the only UK based international non-profit organisation, and one of the few in the world, specifically working to make change on the issue of mental illness and epilepsy in developing countries. … We implement a community based and people-oriented model which emphasises the importance of enabling people with mental illness and epilepsy to re-integrate successfully into their families and communities, and re-gain their own self-respect and dignity by being an economic asset to their families.”
So far, the organisation has directly helped over 118,700 people who are mentally ill or have epilepsy.
The charity’s success is based on a system of interlinked modules that stresses working with the ill rather than for them. Acknowledged by the World Health Organization, in the words of BasicNeeds the program focuses on “treatment and livelihood development through peer groups in local communities.” Its Model for Mental Health and Development addresses “both people’s illnesses and their economic and social well-being” as well as that of their carers and families.
Founded by Chris Underhill in 2000, BasicNeeds has worked with mentally ill people worldwide. It is providing livelihood support and initiatives to remove stigma and stop abuse in China, Ghana, India, Kenya, Lao PDR, Nepal, Pakistan, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Uganda and Vietnam.
Small acts count: you can help right now by signing the petition to improve mental health in Africa on BasicNeeds’ website. The “Declaration on mental health in Africa” can be accessed here.