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    Three key ways to revitalise investment and support mental health. What’s next for Philanthropy and Impact Investing?

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    Three key ways to revitalise investment and support mental health. What’s next for Philanthropy and Impact Investing?

    Dr Maximilian Martin - Global Head of Philanthropy

    Dr Maximilian Martin

    Global Head of Philanthropy

    Roughly one billion people worldwide –over 10% of humanity – currently suffer from a mental health problem. Beyond personal consequences, poor mental health has a cost of approximately US$2.5 trillion globally each year in reduced economic productivity and direct cost of care. Nevertheless, the subject remains taboo in many circles and in different parts of the world. This needs to change.

    Mental health remains a taboo subject in many circles and in different parts of the world. This needs to change

    In 2013, when world leaders agreed on goals to improve global mental health by 2020, their policies centred around four major areas:

    1. The provision of comprehensive mental health and social care services
    2. Integrated services in community-based settings
    3. Implementation of strategies for mental health promotion and illness prevention along with strengthened information systems
    4. Increased investments in research and the creation of an evidence base.

    The WHO has pledged to continue tracking data on global progress against these goals.

    2030 targets

    Eight years later, the balance is sobering, and the 2020 targets were rolled over to 2030. For example, targets for 2030 include increasing the capacity of mental health facilities from 0.64 per 100,000 to 1.3 per 100,000 people. In practice, this means that even if the 2030 targets are met – and that is a big if – the millions of people who require mental health support will go without access to trained staff, including more than half the people suffering from psychosis and a third of those with depression.

    The three major opportunities we see in the decade ahead are the following: rewriting the narrative surrounding mental health issues, achieving meaningful change in transparency, and drawing on the power of markets wherever possible

    So what’s to be done to accelerate progress? Every year, on 10 October, World Mental Health Day gives us an opportunity to take stock of the progress towards a more inclusive look at mental health for all. Shortly after World Mental Health Day 2021, Philanthropy Impact invited Brian Heyworth, Managing Partner of Lansdowne Partners, and Natasha Mueller, Founder of NM Impact Ltd, to discuss objectives and strategies to achieve decisive progress in an online event with Dr Maximilian Martin, Global Head of Philanthropy at Lombard Odier.

    Read also: Lombard Odier launched Donor Brief on Mental Health in Association with the WHO Foundation

    The three major opportunities we see in the decade ahead are the following: rewriting the narrative surrounding mental health issues, achieving meaningful change in transparency, and drawing on the power of markets wherever possible.

     

    Rewriting the mental health narrative

    Firstly, our work on narrative needs to focus on pathways to destigmatise and build support for mental health at the public policy level.

    As part of the solution, we need to learn from recent game-changing trends in other areas, such as Fridays for Future on climate change and Black Lives Matter on historical injustices and secure independent funding.

    Advocacy remains a critical role for philanthropists and funders. As Chair of the City Mental Health Alliance in the UK, Brian Heyworth reminded us not to forget employers as potentially powerful allies of a forward-looking mental health agenda: a negative working environment can lead to physical and mental health problems, and employers are increasingly recognising their responsibilities on this subject, as well as their ability to create healthier workplaces.

     

    Step change in transparency

    Secondly, we need to create a sense of urgency by enabling transparency. Strong data is a powerful tool in directing attention, policy and funding. Data shows that while the need for mental health services is considerable across the board, lower-middle income countries have particularly acute needs in every indicator. Total global funding was around US$160 million in 2019, supporting very low budgets in low-income countries. There is a need for urgent action on a previously unseen scale. Here too, philanthropic funding has the potential to play an important role. Many countries have no access to the funding required to implement national mental health plans. Strategic funders can help remove roadblocks that stand in the way of progress by offering data on the benefits of integrating services into primary care, rather than merely focusing on training and supervision. They can also work on scaling community support, especially in upper-middle-income countries where there is an urgent need to deinstitutionalise support, and building stronger systems for mental health and psychosocial preparedness for emergencies and disasters.

    Philanthropic funding has the potential to play an important role: strategic funders can help remove roadblocks that stand in the way of progress

    Power of markets

    Thirdly, along with narrative and data, let us build on the power of markets to meaningfully revitalise our work on mental health. Wealthy individuals who want to make a difference are increasingly seeking access to a full toolbox of solutions, including both traditional philanthropic grants and impact investments. We see a significant opportunity for increased impact investment in healthcare, and particularly in mental health. According to data from the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN), the leading sectors for impact investments in 2019 were energy and microfinance, which each received US$19 billion and US$13 billion. Healthcare, by contrast, received only US$5.5 billion, and mental health accounted only for a small portion of that amount. Given that prevention is critical in improving mental health outcomes over time, and that digitalisation is changing the game in terms of production, service provision, and cost curves in all industries, we must harness this entrepreneurial energy and investment energy. In a nutshell, we believe we must provide further support to mental health start-ups and adopt a venture approach to digital on-demand healthcare.

    Wichtige Hinweise.

    Die vorliegende Marketingmitteilung wurde von der Bank Lombard Odier & Co AG oder einer Geschäftseinheit der Gruppe (nachstehend “Lombard Odier”) herausgegeben. Sie ist weder für die Abgabe, Veröffentlichung oder Verwendung in Rechtsordnungen bestimmt, in denen eine solche Abgabe, Veröffentlichung oder Verwendung rechtswidrig wäre, noch richtet sie sich an Personen oder Rechtsstrukturen, an die eine entsprechende Abgabe rechtswidrig wäre.

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