By Claudia Urbano, Rotary Service and Engagement staff
In a recent blog post, 2023-24 Rotary International President Gordon McInally highlighted the importance of prioritizing mental health and well-being. Through the Presidential Initiative on Mental Health, he calls upon the Rotary family to shine a spotlight on existing work and promising approaches that can be replicated worldwide. The goals of the initiative are to
- Erase the stigma associated with discussing mental health
- Raise awareness about mental health challenges
- Increase access to care
We encourage you to plan, promote, and support club and district-led service projects that align with these goals.
Access to care projects may focus on improving prevention and treatment, expanding services in underserved communities, and fostering caring environments that promote resiliency and long-term mental health support.
Here are three inspiring examples of clubs addressing the Mental Health Initiative goals:
Priority: raising awareness, erasing stigma
In India, the Rotaract Club of ACT-YCCE collaborated with mental health professionals, Dr. Shaini Suraj and Dr. Sharmishtha Gupta, to conduct a mental health awareness session for students. Dr. Suraj discussed common mental health issues such as stress, anxiety, and depression, and provided tips for managing them. Dr. Gupta addressed the stigma surrounding mental illness and encouraged students to create a supportive environment. The event ended with a question-and-answer session, allowing students to ask questions on various mental health topics. The event emphasized the importance of prioritizing emotional well-being and encouraged students to seek help when needed. The club aims to continue organizing future events promoting mental health awareness and fostering a compassionate community united against mental health stigma.
Priority: raising awareness, access to care
This project by the Rotary E-Club Heritage of New York (United States) aims to address the issues of abuse and isolation faced by women and children in immigrant families, particularly those from minority groups. The main objectives are to raise awareness about these challenges and empower affected individuals. The project will include lectures, workshops, access to therapy, and individual discussions.
Priority: erasing stigma, access to care
“Successful and Happy Aging” is an uplifting webinar series organized by the Rotary Club of Valle Verde in Pasig, Philippines, with a focus on embracing the joys of aging. The webinars resonated with senior Rotary members, delving into the significance of living mindfully. Fearlessly breaking the taboo surrounding aging, the series dispelled misconceptions about aging and encouraged a positive perspective.
With a comprehensive approach, the series explored the interconnected diseases and symptoms often associated with aging, while also shedding light on common medications available for addressing such concerns. Beyond knowledge-sharing, the webinars served as a source of encouragement and support for individuals navigating mental health challenges and the complexities of aging.
As the series ended, it culminated with lively online games designed to ignite the youthful spirit in every Rotary member. “Successful and Happy Aging” exemplified the Rotary Club of Valle Verde’s dedication to fostering a vibrant and resilient community that embraces the journey of aging with optimism and empowerment.
Share your mental health project with the Rotary world
We invite you to share club experiences with the mental health initiative — from discussions and personal interactions to new global grant-funded projects – by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org and posting them to the Mental Health campaign in Rotary Showcase.