Currently, there are enough global crises. The global financial crisis, the refugee crisis, the Covid crisis, the climate crisis: They all have an impact on the health of the population and play a role in the developments of mental illnesses, which are now also referred to as a crisis: A global mental health crisis.
Translated and adapted from the original German version.
One could therefore speak of an intersectionality of crises, and this is also quite appropriate because groups of people and populations that are already marginalised and discriminated against suffer particularly.
The very fact that we in the Global North speak of crises actually says it all. It marks our privileged position. Namely, it means that we still assume a relative state of stability and continuity that is only shaken by crises. Those who grew up in the so-called crisis areas do not even experience them as such and would not call them that. For these people, crisis is everyday life. A normal state of affairs. They live with the everyday uncertainty of their existence and provision.
Although in the pandemic present, it is again those who are most severely affected by the direct and indirect COVID-19 consequences - children, refugees and migrants, LGBTQI+ persons, the homeless, the elderly, the poor - who are among the more vulnerable members of the world's population, it has also severely shaken the Global North. It is therefore no coincidence that the global mental health crisis is becoming such an internationally prominent topic at this particular time.
So we in the editorial team have decided to address mental health as a special topic and are also tackling issues that are uncomfortable and sometimes difficult to digest: Child sexual abuse is booming worldwide across all socio-cultural milieus and is creating a global generation of severely traumatised survivors - while countless children and adolescents do not survive the consequences of the violence. Dying has become too visible to be relegated unnoticed to discrete spaces. Mental illness in the work environment is almost the rule instead of the exception. It is evident that the psychological effects of the last one and a half years are also clearly felt in the families and circles of friends of the well-off and better-off, in the centre of our affluent society. The psyche of the Global North is in crisis mode.
This is something positive because worldwide networking, information exchange and highly specialised professionals can create offers of help of enormous scale and reach. This still does not change the unequal distribution of money, goods, vaccines, education or the non-existent access to medical care, help and therapy. But we can address and disseminate the problems of many through the possibility of virtual public discourse, making discussion about them accessible and visible. We just have to do it. Because experience shows that destigmatisation and de-marginalisation take place when the majority feels addressed because it is affected by a problem and can no longer dismiss it as a fringe phenomenon.
Mental health is important. It is as important as physical health and also interacts with it. Therefore, we need to draw attention to it and support those who are most severely affected. Especially now that we have realised that it can affect each and every one of us.