Global Mental Health Matters


We believe that every person has the right to quality mental health support where and when they need it, so we've set the following goals

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We want people with mental health problems to be able to access the support they need to recover

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We want people with mental health problems to be empowered to speak out and to live free from stigma and discrimination

What is the problem we're responding to?

Globally, mental health problems affect one in ten people at any given time1, putting mental health problems amongst the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide. It is both a cause and consequence of many of the other issues people experience across the world, leading to vicious cycles of discrimination, disadvantage and inequity. In developing countries, up to 85% of people don’t receive adequate treatment for their mental health problems and even in high income countries this figure can be as high as 50%2. This can be because services are inaccessible, poor quality or too expensive. Often services are underfunded with insufficient numbers of trained mental health workers available to meet need.


How will we contribute to change? 

Mental health has been a priority for Comic Relief’s funding in the UK over the last ten years, and we want to continue to build on this. There is overwhelming need globally, and by taking a targeted approach our investment can build learning, on what works and make a significant contribution to change.

Focusing on early intervention is crucial and we seek to fund new and innovative models to increase access to effective support, including digital projects. We recognise the need to invest in low cost and community-based approaches such as peer support and know that alternative approaches such as sport and art can be effective. 

Through partnerships, we are interested in contributing to change in the following areas:

  1. Improving the mental health and supportive networks of people experiencing or at risk of poor mental health, especially those from marginalised groups 
  2. Increasing the accessibility and appropriateness of mental health support services to the people who need them
  3. Increasing the evidence of appropriate and effective models of care and treatment in different settings and for different groups of people
  4. Growing the social movement of people with lived experience who are empowered to advocate for change
  5. Shifting attitudes that create stigma and discrimination around mental health, enabling people suffering from poor mental health to feel less isolated and alone
  6. Contributing to the development and implementation of effective policies so mental health systems better meet people’s needs