Civil Society or Non-Governmental Organisation
Global Mental Health Peer Network
April 2020
Global Mental Health Peer Network
Global Office: South Africa

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The GMHPN is raising funds towards its further development and sustainability - please support us by making a small donation and help us become a stronger collective voice for the human rights of persons with lived experience with mental health conditions across the world, and ensuring that we are at the centre of policy and action.
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and VOTE for us!
World Dignity Project:
2020 Mental Health Champion

The Global Mental Health Peer Network its Founder / CEO Charlene Sunkel
are both nominees.
Public voting will take place from:
March 15th, 2020 until May 17th, 2020
GMHPN in partnership with World Dignity Project - Study: Help us understand your mental health and health care during COVID-19
Our mutual goal is to identify and campaign for changes, where needed, to ensure the dignity of those with lived experience mental health issues is protected in future pandemic situations, and that the right resources are put in place for the mental health and wellbeing of all affected individuals.
GMHPN Members: Global & Country Activities
GMHPN Founder & CEO,
Charlene Sunkel, speaks on Webinar: Mental Health
& COVID-19 Research
The Lancet Psychiatry, Mental Health Innovation Network, and United for Global Mental Health have launched a series of weekly webinars designed to provide policy makers and the wider health community with the latest evidence on the impact of COVID-19 on mental health and how to address it. 
Exco Member represents
GMHPN on webinar hosted by NCEARD & UNICEF
COVID-19 WEBINAR #3: Nutrition, healthy lifestyles & support for elderly. Talks by expert panelists will be followed by a Q&A session. GMHPN Exco Member, Chantelle Booysen presents practical examples on peer support as well as supportive measures on mental wellbeing.
#tvptalks by The Vermilion Project talks to Matthew Jackman on
Lived Experience Leadership
in Mental Health
 Join TVP's co-founder Swathi Shanmukhasundaram in conversation with GMHPN Exco Member, Matthew Jackman,
where they discuss lived experience advocacy
in global mental health.
Project COVID launched by
MANI in Nigeria - led by GMPHN Exco Member, Victor Ugo
As part of our mental health response to the ongoing pandemic, we have created a platform that caters to all your needs by providing a wide variety of activities, resources, & entertainment to help you maintain optimal wellness.
News and Interests

The Global Mental Health Peer Network as an international organisation for people with lived experience with mental health conditions and Human Rights in Mental Health and FGIP, an international organisation that promotes humane, ethical and user-oriented mental health services, drafted a joint statement to express our views and recommendations related to the COVID-19 Response.

Click here to read the full statement
The Mind the Gap campaign was initiated by the international foundation Human Rights in Mental Health-FGIP in response to the growing concern about the use of the term “social distancing” for persons who generally find themselves in more isolated positions in society: persons with psychosocial and physical disability, as well as elderly persons who reside in care homes.
Human Rights in Mental Health-FGIP has spoken out against using the term at an early stage of the COVID crisis, and some basic materials were developed to illustrate our position. Others have also expressed their concern, and also the World Health Organization has called upon authorities and the general public to change the term to “physical distancing”.
Poem by © Deon Swanepoel 
As I walk through empty streets
void of laughter, of people singing,
feasting on love of life
I realise –
we are locked up in cages,
like animals to slaughter.
Let me dream of walking in lilac fields
wide open spaces
without cages,
set me free, let me soar up high.
May I laugh and sing
on the beat of ventilators,
pumping life in lifeless bodies.
My soul shall dance
into the arms of Him
from whom all music comes.
Lithuanian app provides emotional support during quarantine
A Lithuanian app supported by country's NGOs and psychological services is helping people affected by the coronavirus crisis access emotional support.
 Act On Crisis (AOC), aims to fill this gap by providing a package of emotional support tools that includes breathing techniques, anonymous support communities and free therapy sessions with certified professionals.
The lockdown paradox: Why some people's anxiety is improving during the crisis
Some of my patients report feeling better during the coronavirus lockdown. Could ‘normal’ life be making them ill? In all the darkness there have been some real hopeful shifts. For some of those fortunate enough to have a safe and secure home environment that they can work from, the lockdown has had some unexpected silver linings.
Bloom: A Touching Animated Short Film about Depression
and What It Takes to Recover
the Light of Being
How the warm rays of hope and healing enter the dark inner chamber of leaden loneliness through the unexpected cracks of kindness. “Sometimes one has simply to endure a period of depression for what it may hold of illumination if one can live through it, attentive to what it exposes or demands,” the poet May Sarton wrote as she contemplated the cure for despair amid a dark season of the spirit.
Online mental health services
in China during the
OVID-19 outbreak
The popularisation of internet services and smartphones, and the emergence of fifth generation (5G) mobile networks, have enabled mental health professionals and health authorities to provide online mental health services during the COVID-19 outbreak. Fast transmission of the virus between people hinders traditional face-to-face psychological interventions. By contrast, provision of online mental health services is safe. To date, several types of online mental health services have been implemented widely for those in need during the outbreak in China.
R. van Voren.
Criminal negligence?
Ukraine - While psychiatric hospitals are among the most vulnerable to mass COVID-19 infections, the management is forced to dismiss part of the personnel because of lack of finances.
From all over the country I receive reports on services collapsing because of this decision.
COVID-19 triage orders mustn't work against those with disabilities
Governments need to affirm ethical and human rights obligations to persons with disabilities. Persons with disabilities worry that priorities or the way access criteria are interpreted and applied, will put people with disabilities at or near the bottom of the priority list for care.
The Covid-19 crisis too few are talking about:
Health care workers’ mental health
Underneath it, many health care workers are barely keeping it together. They are anxious and they are afraid. They aren’t sleeping and they find themselves crying more than usual.
Patients with mental health disorders in the COVID-19 epidemic
Here, we write to express our concerns with regards to the effect of the epidemic on people with mental health disorders. Ignorance of the differential impact of the epidemic on these patients will not only hinder any aims to prevent further spread of COVID-19, but will also augment already existing health inequalities.
A crisis mental-health hotline has seen an 891% spike in calls
USA - People all over the nation are trying to cope with the new normal of life during a pandemic. Many are dealing with health issues, unemployment, grief and facing uncertainty what the future holds. "Stress, anxiety, and other depression-like symptoms are common reactions after a disaster".
Mental illness will
be 'next wave' of COVID-19 pandemic, epidemiologist says
An epidemiologist says social isolation could lead to a range of mental health issues as people face the prospect of living under the current COVID-19 restrictions for months. 
We humans are ultimately social. We're social creatures and we do need interaction, physical and social, with others.
Coronavirus in a
psychiatric hospital:
'It's the worst of all worlds'
Since COVID-19 hit the hospital a month ago, its Victorian-era buildings have felt "eerie" and "strange," according to workers. The art room is empty, group therapy is canceled and patients eat alone in the cafeteria.
A skeleton staff cares for more than 700 patients battling illnesses that range from schizophrenia to suicidal depression.
Mortality associated with
COVID-19 outbreaks in care homes: Early international evidence
Official data on the numbers of deaths among care home residents linked to COVID-19 are not available in many countries but an increasing number of countries are publishing data. Due to differences in testing availabilities and policies, and to different approaches to recording deaths, international comparisons are difficult.
Opinion - For whom the bell tolls
Last week, a Bulgarian mental health service provider tried to have a referred client hospitalized. The woman, a person with chronic mental illness, was having serious somatic problems and was in need of emergency medical care.
'Profound' mental health impact prompts calls for urgent research
The coronavirus pandemic could have a "profound" effect on people's mental health - now and in the future, say psychiatrists and psychologists who are calling for urgent research.
Why Canada needs a 9-8-8 number for mental health emergencies
Canada is turning its back on a new idea that could help people during times of mental health crisis. The U.S. is adopting a 9-8-8 mental health crisis phone number so people can get in touch with help quickly.
Children’s story book released
to help children and young
people cope with COVID-19
With the help of a fantasy creature, Ario,“My Hero is You, How kids can fight COVID-19!” explains how children can protect themselves, their families and friends from coronavirus and how to manage difficult emotions when confronted with a new and rapidly changing reality.
Initiatives, Events and Conferences
Empathy & Hope Project:
Calling on guests to join us and share your stories & experiences
This podcast series is an extension of the Empathy & Hope Project, a traveling art exhibition that acts as an advocacy tool. Episode 1 is live with episodes 2 and 3 going live soon. In this series we would like guests to share their stories of hope and/or empathy. This can be done in any creative way that you'd prefer, whether it is via storytelling, reading a poem, reading literature or singing, this platform is for your to express yourself! Follow FB page @empathyhopeproject or contact
Time to rally behind the
World Health Organization
The unprecedented outbreak of the new coronavirus once again places the WHO at the centre of global public action for health. Independent global health experts in countries around the world have highlighted the importance of the WHO in the response to this global public health crisis both in terms of transparency and timeliness of recommendations and decisions.
Global Mental Health Peer Network
Global Office: South Africa
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