Chris Underhill of BasicNeeds accepts the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship at the 2013 Skoll World Forum in Oxford, England.
Skoll Entrepreneur: Chris Underhill
Focus Area Addressed: Healthcare Access and Treatment
Award Year: 2013
Nearly 75% of the 450 million people worldwide with mental illness live in the developing world, where 85% do not have access to treatment.
Until very recently, mental health issues have taken a back seat to physical health in international development efforts.
Mental health issues are underfunded, often misunderstood and considered taboo. In the developing world, they are often also human rights issues.
BasicNeeds works with mentally ill people across 12 countries through a holistic model to address community mental health, poverty and stigma.
Its cost-effective, comprehensive model:
Engages the community to raise awareness and identify those in need;
Trains medical and volunteer workers to treat people in their own communities rather than in institutions;
Helps mentally ill people and their caregivers to create peer support and advocacy networks;
Provides opportunities for income generation or participation in productive work thereby enabling sustainable recoveries and reintegration into society;
Generates evidence and new knowledge which can facilitate improvement of health practice and inform policy.
BasicNeeds scales by training existing players to implement its model, thereby influencing and building capacity within the existing health system. It transforms both the what (services provided) and the how (who delivers the services and where) of the system. As a result of its strong evidence base, BasicNeeds plays a key role in influencing local, national and global mental health policy and is building the field of practice of community-based mental health that goes beyond medicine.
The Skoll Foundation presents the Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship each year to a select few social entrepreneurs whose proven innovations have demonstrated impact on some of the world's most pressing problems. The Skoll Award recognizes organizations with the potential to not only be individually successful, but also to catalyze large-scale, system-level change.