Sierra Leone to amend mental health ‘lunacy’ law and guarantee the right of every citizen to access support

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Speak Your Mind campaigners are making history. Thanks to the joint efforts of Sierra Leone campaigners and the Mental Health Coalition, the Government is announcing today a review of the Lunacy Act from 1902 which has promoted the involuntary incarceration of people with mental health conditions.

In October 2020, a new bill will be taken to parliament to vote on, guaranteeing the right of every citizen to mental health support.   We’re empowered by this incredible announcement, showing that when you unite and Speak Your Mind, people across the world can make a difference on mental health.

This announcement was made as part of a Goalkeepers Accelerator on mental health at Bill and Melinda Gates’ annual event in New York today. 

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Joshua Duncan, programme manager for the Mental Health Coalition - Sierra Leone,  who leads the Speak Your Mind campaign locally, attended the Goalkeepers awards evening in New York ahead of the launch of the Global Mental Health Accelerator. Accelerators bring together partners from different sectors around common agendas for action, seeking to catalyse investments, expertise, and innovation to drive further progress towards the Global Goals.

“The ultimate call of our Mental Health Coalition is to see persons with lived mental health and psychosocial experience have access to evidence-based care and inclusion at all levels of services in the country, as it is their right. Changing the outdated and damaging legal framework in Sierra Leone is a significant and encouraging step towards our shared goal.” Joshua, Speak Your Mind Campaigner, Sierra Leone

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is shining a spotlight on mental health at their annual Goalkeepers event, a coming together 400 world leaders, global activists, and community changemakers to drive progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals. On this global stage, mental health will be launched as a new Goalkeepers Accelerator, designed to help enable investment and innovation to make a practical difference on a priority issue.

“Speak Your Mind was created by people leading the campaign for improvements to mental health support in 15 countries across the world, including Sierra Leone. It is incredible that the committed and passionate campaigners are already creating change in their countries and demonstrating that  when we come together progress is possible.”

Elisha London, Founder and CEO of United for Global Mental Health