Kathy Elisca Clermont is a student at Fordham University getting her master’s degree in Social Work. Her focus has been on being a Mental Health advocate. You can find her on twitter and Instagram @clermonInsipires. You can also check out her blog page http://clermoninspires.org/
As a social work student, you will come across a lot of events that will spark your interest. But, I am here to let you know that the Social Good Summit is THE must-attend event. At the Social Good Summit 2018, there were a lot of great leaders that shared their passion on the work that they do. One of the sessions that caught my attention was the Global Mental Health session by Sitawa Wafula and Elisha London. Sitawa Wafula runs a mental health podcast called My Mind, My Funk and her website called Mental Health Academy, which is Kenya’s free mental health SMS helpline. This social enterprise aims to create a community of people dedicated to helping individuals with Mental Health problems in a cathartic way. The people can share their stories among each other to help break down the stigma attached to mental problems. Sitawa Wafula explained her story on why she became a Mental Health advocate. Based on her experience she needed mental health services which were not addressed in her home country of Kenya. Because of that, she developed the drive to make Mental Health the forefront of the policy-agenda. Her mission to help others that were suffering in silence.
Mental Health is as important as Physical Health. Due to the stigma that is attached to Mental Health, it is hard for people who suffer from it to feel comfortable seeking services. In many cases, there is a lack of Mental Health services available to them. The stigma surrounding Mental Health is not only prevalent in developing countries, but it is also strongly present undeveloped countries as well. Thus, it is a global issue that needs to be addressed. Sitawa Wafula would like to see the goal of making Mental Health stigma-free as a global effort. She works toward a future in which Mental Health services are available in all countries and in which there is no longer stigmas surrounding Mental Health related issues.
The reason why this session attracted to me is because I am a Mental Health advocate. I had experiences with Mental Health Click here. Personally, I feel strongest about Sustainable Development Goal is 3: Good Health and Well-Being. In the Social Work profession, we advocate to raise awareness about this issue and view it as a social injustice. As a Social Work student and a Mental Health advocate, here are the following tips I use to make (as written on Sitawa Shirt states) Mental Health sexy.
- Acknowledge that We all have Mental Health by talking about your experience with others.
- Host a Mental Health event at your school or job (with permission of course) where people can receive information on different type of Mental illness.
- Read information on the different types of Mental illnesses. Sources like the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
- Volunteer at your local hospital Behavioral Department.
- Spread the Mental health information on your Social Media platforms by writing to your local government leaders to support mental health legislation.