How are social business leaders improving mental health worldwide?

September 16, 2020

Worldwide, young people are affected by all sorts of mental health challenges. In 2017, it was estimated that over 1 billion people face mental health disorders, which include depression, anxiety, bipolar and eating disorders, drug abuse, and schizophrenia. 

Among social entrepreneurs, the reality is not much different. Many of us face anxiety, depression, burnout syndrome, among other issues. We often work over hours and sacrifice our own wellbeing for the sake of our social businesses. 

With that in mind, Yunus & Youth has chosen to dedicate the month of September 2020 to raise awareness and encourage action on those issues. One of our efforts was to host a webinar on how social entrepreneurs are improving mental health worldwide. 

The webinar brought together social entrepreneurs from across the globe – the USA, Ecuador, Colombia, and Ghana, all with one shared passion: promote mental health and encourage other people to do so. 

Dion and Jeff are social entrepreneurs who decided to use their passion for innovation and technology to create iRel8, a peer-to-peer mental health platform designed to bring a new approach to helping lives. Gabriela is a Y&Y Fellow and founder of The Life Experiment. She believes the power of young people to become agents of change.  Also a Y&Y Fellow, Maria del Pilar has founded Life Academy, a social enterprise that gives youth the power to prevent mental health issues and reduce suicide rates. Patrick is the founder of Standout Care, a primary healthcare organization operating in Ghana. 

During the panel, several issues regarding mental health and social entrepreneurship were discussed. The effect of the current pandemic on mental health issues has made society move from “awareness” to “action”, and start seeing human beings in a more holistic way. For the panelists, we must take care of ourselves not only on the physical level but also on the mental level. If we practice sports to strengthen our bodies, why not treat our minds well too?

The panelists’ stories were also moving. They shared about their own mental health challenges and discussed how they turned those obstacles into action to build a better future. Those included fighting against depression, burn-out syndrome, suicide, among others. 

From a macro perspective, they discussed how social issues can become risk factors for mental health issues, such as how those impact marginalized communities, and how social entrepreneurs should act on behalf of them. 

Awesome tips were also shared. In a practical yet genuine way, panelists shared their own habits, rituals, and perspectives on how to take care of yourself. 

Through a truthful, genuine, inspiring conversation, viewers were encouraged to get in touch with themselves, look out for others, and use their power to change the world. In the words of Maria:

“Young people, we are amazing! We have the power to transform our generation and the future generation. Let’s believe we can, take care of ourselves first, and claim our call to change the world!”

Yunus & Youth exists to make this journey easier for you and we are constantly creating new opportunities and resources to help you succeed! With that in mind, Y&Y Fellows from across the globe came together to brainstorm a few tips, good habits, kind reminders, and resources to help you take care of your mental health in this journey. Click here to download it!

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