Shapers for Mental Health

Mental Health is a topic that is widely stigmatized or uncomfortable for some to talk about. As much as we try to avoid it, it is there, and it will continue to stay there. According to the WHO, there is one death by suicide every 40 seconds and each year more than 800,000 people end their own lives. One of the leading causes of suicide is mental health disorders. Globally, one in four live with some sort of mental health disorder – around 450 million people.

However, those numbers are prior to the outbreak of COVID-19. According to the research by Qualtrics, there has been an increase of stress by 
65.9% since the outbreak. The reason varies from COVID-19 anxiety to current financial crisis. These numbers are worrying because we do not have enough Mental Health workers to support a Mental Health Crisis. Right now we have 9 Mental Health workers per 100,000 people and because Mental Health was never really an issue we discussed about, the global median for mental health expenditure was only $2.5 per capita compared to $141 per capital for general domestic health.


With foreseeable higher need for Mental Health workers, we will realized that Mental Health treatment is both costly and accessible only in certain parts of the world.


Global Shapers across the globe have been interested in this topic, and we have a lot of youth with lived experience. One common realization is the need of more empathetic listeners within our communities as peer support. Having an empathetic listener as a frontline can help reduce the pressure and stress on someone who is going through any sort of Mental Health Disorder, and also act as a buffer for the already fragile Mental Health care.


This initiative seeks to offer sessions for free for youth beneficiaries who cannot afford professional mental health services. The sessions are to be delivered by volunteers across the globe (Global Shapers to start with) in their local communities, after having received training from a credible organization.


The trainings will be provided by two organizations currently, using two methods:


  1. Peer Counseling provided by the Friendship Bench organization led by Dr. Dixon Chibanda, a psychiatrist from Zimbabwe.

  2. Expressive arts for mental health provided by PeaceLove, a US-based organization Success is measured by the number of people trained, the number of sessions delivered, and the qualitative feedback provided by participants


Due to the current pandemic, and need for us to be physically distant, Accenture is partnering with the Global Shapers Community on their Accelerator Program and has teamed up with the Equity & Inclusion SteerCo to focus on the area of Mental Health. They are currently assisting us in finding creative ways to provide Empathetic Listening Skills Workshop to Shapers virtually.


We are positive that this will allow us to generate more empathy and understanding of Mental Health care within our communities locally and globally.