What's all the buzz about social entrepreneurship and global mental health?

This month, MHIN is spotlighting social entrepreneurship in global mental health, for what we're dubbing "SE-ptember".


On Friday, 5th September, Social Capital Markets (SOCAP) will be hosting their first-ever expert panel on global mental health as part of SOCAP14, the world's largest conference for impact investors and social entrepreneurs. This year's theme, "Igniting vibrant communities", asks us to identify bold and dynamic communities of innovators who are making an impact "at the intersection of money and meaning". 

We believe that this online network of mental health innovators is a vibrant community, where some of the most exciting stories of social entrepreneurship in global mental health are being shared-- in blogs, webinars, podcasts, and especially in the innovation and organizational profiles where innovators showcase their work. 

So, what's all the buzz about social entrepreneurship on MHIN? Click on our interactive infographic below, or keep reading to learn more.



"The intersection of money and meaning" on MHIN

The new MHIN site is barely a month old, but already members have shared fantastic examples of investment having an impact, with over 60 Innovations collating key information and resources from mental health programs and research projects around the world. 

Among these is the Peter C. Alderman Foundation (PCAF) Trauma Clinic program, which builds public-private partnerships to address the mental health needs of survivors of terrorism and violence. Today, more than 10,000 people have been treated in Cambodia, Kenya, Liberia and Uganda, either by PCAF-trained personnel or in PCAF clinics. Executive Director Alison Pavia will be speaking on the SOCAP panel, describing how donor dollars can be leveraged to strengthen health systems for lasting change. 


Approximately 15,000 patients were seen in PCAF clinics in 2013, at a cost of $35,000 USD per clinic. 


Dr. Karlee Silver, VP of Targeted Challenges at Grand Challenges Canada (GCC), will also participate in SOCAP, representing one of the world's leading funders of mental health innovation. In her new blog, Karlee issues a call to action for donors to join GCC in efforts to "transform global mental health" through investment. Karlee also shares her insights on what makes a good mental health investor and a mental health innovation worthy of investment. She emphasizes the importance of local context and stakeholder engagement: "While the capacities of existing systems vary, an innovation that ignores the systems it is meant to strengthen will not be sustainable."

This point is further explored in the blog "Taking an innovative therapy to an unprecedented scale" by John Drain and Sean Mayberry of StrongMinds, a non-profit social enterprise planning to treat 2 million people living with depression in Africa by 2020. Rather than lament the hardships of service delivery in the region-- human resource shortages, weak psychopharmaceutical supply chains-- they describe how local preferences for group-based therapeutic interventions have been leveraged to design a cost-effective model of care that is scalable even in low-resource health systems. The model is based on research co-authored by Dr. Helena Verdeli of Columbia University's Global Mental Health Lab, a fellow panelist.  Sean and Helena will be sharing their perspectives alongside Alison and Karlee on Friday.  


At scale, StrongMinds will be able to treat one patient for 16 weeks at a cost of just $25 USD.


SEMH: Building a vibrant community for social entrepreneurs in mental health

SOCAP panelists are not the only ones talking about social entrepreneurship on MHIN. Social entrepreneurship is quickly gaining traction as a lens for identifying best practices, as Dr. Sean Kidd from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) explains in his new MHIN blog, "What social entrepreneurship can teach us"Sean and CAMH colleague Dr. Kwame McKenzie have spearheaded the new Social Entrepreneurism in Mental Health (SEMH) working group, which aims "to learn from the people who have transformed innovative ideas into highly effective services".

Among these remarkable people is Ananda Galappatti, an Ashoka Fellow in Sri Lanka and a leader of the Good Practice Group and the Mental Health and Psychosocial Support NetworkAs part of a recent SEMH webinar on "Social Entrepreneurship and Mental Health Interventions in Low Income Countries", Ananda shared his insights on the key factors that must be considered when taking a mental health innovation to scale. In his video, now available on MHINAnanda advises social entrepreneurs to be bold, tolerate uncertainty and embrace low-cost experimentation.

Starting a global conversation 

As Sean remarks, social entrepreneurship as a concept "can be a bit difficult to grapple with", but underlying this concept are "a set of strategies that might well enable fragmented systems to connect". Our goal for SE-ptember is to encourage this vibrant and diverse community of innovators to "connect" around the concept of social entrepreneurship, using the SOCAP panel as a springboard to start a global conversation. 

Chris Underhill, the award-winning social entrepreneur behind BasicNeeds International, will inaugurate MHIN's "Ask the expert" feature this September. Throughout the month, you can submit your questions about social entrepreneurship and global mental health, and Chris will answer on "Ask the expert". 


This September, submit your questions to Chris Underhill either as comments on his "Ask the expert" page, or through Twitter #GMHExpert. 


Share  your ideas, questions and comments on Twitter #SocEnt4MH, or sign up as a MHIN member to comment directly on the site, and start a global conversation about social entrepreneurship and mental health.


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