By Julia Tofan
The Tea Leaf Trust, working with young people in Sri Lanka's tea picking communities, is all too familiar with the devastating effects of untreated mental and emotional health issues. A 2010 questionairre of 101 university students in the community found that 39% had wanted to or had self-harmed in the last two weeks and 24% had considered suicide in the last week. Among the male population, the rate of alcoholism was between 80% and 85%. The high rate of alcoholism is considered a major cause of the violence faced by 83% of females, 20% of which is sexual violence. The region experiences a crisis of mental health, violence, and drug abuse, culminating in many struggles for young adults.
The [url=https://www.givology.org/~ehpasgroup/]Emotional Health Project and Support Group[/url] was initiated to combat this often ignored issue in Sri Lanka's tea picking community. The grassroots nonprofit organization educates students about depression, anger, addiction, and coping strategies and holds a support group for students to talk about the challenges they face. In response to the program, a student named Bhagya wrote, The words which you gave me, to my feet theyre like a bright light. The Tea Leaf Trust has seen great results from the program, but they need support to continue the program. Thanks to Givology's generous donors, [url=https://www.givology.org/~ehpasgroup/]The Emotional Health Project and Support Group[/url] has reached more students and continues to meet mental health needs! Want to learn more about mental health on a global scale? Here are 10 facts about mental health and why it matters.
1. [url=http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs220/en/]450 million[/url] people across the globe suffer from mental illnesses.
2. Nora Mweemba, [url=http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2010/mental_disabilities_20100916/en/]a WHO worker[/url] in Zambia, reports that mental health conditions in the developing world are often interpreted as a punishment from God, possession, or curse.
3. 50% of countries have less than [url=http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2010/may/10/mental-illness-developing-world]one psychiatrist[/url] per 100,000 people.
4. 33% of countries have [url=http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2010/may/10/mental-illness-developing-world]no mental health[/url] programs.
5. In the last 45 years, [url=http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2010/mental_disabilities_20100916/en/]suicide rates[/url] have increased by 60% worldwide.
6. Every year 75% of the approximately 800,000 suicides per year occur in [url=http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2014/suicide-prevention-report/en/]low or middle income countries[/url].
7. People with mental health conditions often fail to seek treatment because they [url=http://www.irinnews.org/report/74180/zambia-mental-illness-sufferers-shunned-and-isolated]fear employment discrimination[/url]. Globally, people with mental illnesses have [url=http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2010/mental_disabilities_20100916/en/]unemployment rates[/url] up to 90%.
8. "Mental health problems account for an estimated [url=http://www.who.int/mental_health/mhgap_final_english.pdf]14% of all global health conditions[/url]" but "they receive [url=http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2010/may/10/mental-illness-developing-world]less than 1%[/url] of most countries' healthcare budget."
9. "By 2030, depression will be the [url=http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2010/mental_disabilities_20100916/en/]second highest[/url] cause of disease burden in middle-income countries and the third highest in low-income countries."
10. The WHO reports that in 2012, [url=http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2014/alcohol-related-deaths-prevention/en/]3.3 million[/url] people died due to alcohol use. There's a negative correlation between education and drug use, and Tea Leaf Trust is part of the solution.
Mental health is a global issue, but the solution can be found in grassroots initiatives lifting communities and making a local difference. You can help by learning more about mental health in developing countries, raising awareness, and raising funds and support for organizations like Tea Leaf Trust that are leading the movement for mental health awareness and action. Tea Leaf Trust is still in need of funding for a [url=https://www.givology.org/~tlvcfpdevelopment/]Vision Center for Professional Development[/url] and a [url=https://www.givology.org/~ceprogramme/]Community English Program[/url] to train English teachers for students in the region. The link between mental health and education is undeniable. Education gives student teachers at Tea Leaf Trust hope for the future by providing training and employability, a pathway to make a difference in the world by teaching others after they graduate, and emotional support groups for younger students.
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