Ruth Knagg

Leamington Spa, Uk


To transform the lives of children and adults living with mental illness and epilepsy in the world’s poorest communities; tackling stigma, facilitating access to services, and empowering men and women, boys and girls, to live and work successfully in their communities through and innovative Model for Mental Health and Development.



Additional Information

BasicNeeds work with men, women, boys and girls with mental illness and epilepsy in developing countries across Africa and Asia. Stigma around mental illness is huge in developing countries, and basic services are entirely lacking. Beliefs around witchcraft remain and it is not uncommon to find children and adults tied to trees or shackled in chains by their own families who do not know how to handle their erratic behavior and have little hope of accessing treatment. For the millions who are living in poverty, mental illness is a world of isolation, fear, abuse and neglect. Children with mental illness are routinely denied the opportunity to go to school whilst those who have a parent or sibling with mental illness are often burdened with caring responsibilities from a very young age. This typically means that families are unable to earn a stable income and slide further into poverty. BasicNeeds has developed an innovative and effective model for Mental Health and Development which tackles people’s poverty as well as their health through capacity building, community mental health, access to livelihoods, research and management. Despite being a relatively small organisation, our efforts have been recognised by the UN and the World Health Organisation who have endorsed our approach. To date we have reached 85,308 people with mental illness and epilepsy in developing countries, but more work is urgently required to reach millions more and to transform national policy and practice for truly sustainable change.

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