Hannah, who suffered mental health problems, and her son

We all have mental health and one in four people globally will be affected by a mental health problem at some point in their lives. Around 450 million people currently experience such conditions (and 75% of these people live in the developing world). At any one time, 1 in 10 children and young people have a diagnosable mental health problem, and it is well established that most adolescent and adult mental illness can be traced back to childhood. 

We also know that poverty increases the likelihood of developing a mental health problem and that some groups are particularly vulnerable to mental health problems. The levels of stigma attached to poor mental health are very high in developing countries, which in turn creates further barriers for people to access the care they need.

There is a shortage of mental health specialists in Africa and developing countries with over 75% of people receiving no treatment for serious conditions. We know that low-cost interventions including self-help groups, and other community approaches, are the most effective strategy to support people. In the UK despite an increase in people speaking out about their mental health needs around a third of all people with a mental health problem have sought no professional help at all. 


An open and receptive culture about mental health

A young baby and its mother

Even when help is available, stigma and discrimination stop some of the most disadvantaged people from getting the support they desperately need. We support organisations that tackle this major barrier. In line with our approach that ensures we put people at the heart of everything we do, we believe people who’ve experienced mental health issues themselves are best placed to develop solutions. We actively look to support organisations that are led by people with direct experience of the issues we want to tackle.


People experiencing mental health problems can access high quality, evidenced-based support 

Ending mental health stigma

We believe individuals should be able to speak out and access what they need, where and when they need it - wherever they are in the world. We help individuals, interest groups and organisations come together, identifying barriers and developing collaborative solutions. Around the world we focus on low-cost models of care geared for local communities. We also work to strengthen community systems, helping integrate them into the health system, so individuals, families and communities can hold the relevant service providers to account, demanding quality and relevant health care that really meets their needs

Other programme areas