World’s First 24-Hour Virtual March

SAFMH News Room

This World Mental Health Day (10th October) the South African Federation for Mental Health (SAFMH) is calling on people in South Africa to Move for Mental Health, because the magnitude of the mental health burden we face around the world is simply not being matched by the response it demands. The march will be taking place around the world and in South Africa because now it is the time to move for, and invest in mental health.

Close to one billion people globally have a mental disorder and anyone, anywhere, can be affected. People with severe mental disorders tend to have a lifespan of 10 -20 years shorter than the general population. At present, suicide is claiming the lives of close to 800,000 people every year – 1 person every 40 seconds – and it’s the second leading cause of death for young people aged 15-29 years.

As a low-middle income country, South Africa faces serious shortcomings with the provision for mental health services for the majority of its citizens. It is estimated that 75 % of those who need mental health care services do not receive it.

The extraordinary increase in mental health needs – with the added challenges of COVID-19 – is taking its toll on already overburdened mental health services, which are under-funded and under-resourced. This is why we are inviting members of the public to join us in the world’s first virtual March for Mental Health on 9 October. At 11H00, we will live stream an hour of content featuring persons with lived experiences and an academic expert speaking about the challenges faced by many South Africans in accessing mental health services and making a case for mental health investment as part of the Speak Your Mind a global citizen-led campaign –that aims to progress for mental health in every nation, 24hr activation. People will stand up and be counted by using an AR filter that places them in the middle of the virtual march as it leaves South Africa and progresses around the world.

Young people don’t want to reach a crisis point to get help with their mental health. Yet so many young people go through trauma unnoticed because of things like stigma or distressingly inadequate support. For young people, time matters,” said 16-year-old mental health activist Christopher Kleynhans.

People can take part in the virtual March for Mental Health in a number of ways.

  •  Sign up for the 24 hour virtual March for Mental Health and see the full schedule and timings
  • RSVP for the 24 hr Facebook live event which will kick off on the 9th October featuring content, lived experience and influencer involvement from 18 countries starting in Tonga and running through New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia, Philippines, Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Argentina, Ghana, Peru and the US during the 24 hour period.
  • Join in and share on social media including using the AR filter and surround yourself with others marching with you and hear the noise of your collective action. Use the AR filter on Instagram or Facebook, and Facebook Frames
  • Try out the Instagram Stickers (search for “Speak Your Mind” on Instagram’s GIF menu)

Alongside the virtual March, a global “Move for Mental Health” challenge is being set with a new mental health anthem written and performed by a group of artists and activists from around the world – Artists for Speak Your Mind – that is available to stream and download.

People are asked to mobilise on TikTok and search for the anthem “Move Together” and film themselves doing any kind of movement – dancing, taking a walk, riding a bike, painting a picture – and posting the video using #MoveForMentalHealth. For those not on TikTok they are being asked to share their films on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter using #MoveForMentalHealth.

Don’t forget to join the march at 11 am in South Africa.

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