Our purpose is to enable people with mental illness or epilepsy and their families to live and work successfully in their communities by combining health, socio-economic and community oriented solutions with changes in policy, practice and resource allocation.
Founded in 2000 by Chris Underhill, BasicNeeds has enabled over 650,000 people with mental illness and/or epilepsy across 12 countries in Africa and Asia to have access to treatment, the opportunity to earn an income and to re-integrate themselves successfullly into their families and communities. Thinking beyond the normal practice of a purely medical approach to mental disorders, BasicNeeds has developed a unique Model for Mental Health and Development which takes social and economic factors into account as well, since these are closely linked with mental health. BasicNeeds' work on mental health also reduces povery and restores people's sense of self-worth and dignity, enabling them to live and work successfully in their communities.
The BasicNeeds Model comprises 4 elements and 4 foundations
Psychosocial Support: People have a right to participate in society on an equal basis with others. Peers are well placed to provide a strong support network in the community.
System Strengthening: It is more sustainable to invest in strengthening existing systems
Livelihoods: facilitating opportunities for affected individuals to gain or regain the ability to work, earn and contribute to family and community.
Community development: The community is the space where any change process takes place. Most mental health conditions can be addressed within the community
• Human Rights: The Model seeks to educate people about their rights and how they can exercise them, and also tackles policies and practices that are harmful
• Recovery: Recovery is the concept that people define their own idea of wellbeing, which can be with or without clinical symptoms. Recovery is typically defined as individuals affected by mental health conditions having hope, opportunity, and control
• Integration: systems that exist and impact upon individuals’ lives should be as integrated as possible. This means that an individual’s range of needs can be met as easily as possible, and duplication and waste are reduced
• Quality: Activities which take place under the banner of the BasicNeeds Model should be of high-quality.