Being honest about mental health
2019 Tutu Fellow Sangu Delle delivered the keynote speech at the 65th Annual Employee Benefits Conference in San Diego in October 2019 and his topic was one that is often responded to with discomfort - that of mental health. The conference is the largest gathering of multiemployer and public employee benefit plan representatives, with nearly 5,000 people attending. In prepared remarks, the President of the Foundation, Gene Price, set the tone for Sangu's speech in which he himself shared a personal story that had deeply affected him and he implored all attendees to drop the social pretense and find solutions to help those struggling with mental health issues. Sangu picked up where Gene left off, sharing his own struggles with depression. He recounted how, when stress got to be too much for him, he had to confront his own deep prejudice: that men shouldn't take care of their mental health.
In this TED Talk, Sangu picks up similar themes to his keynote. In it, he shares how he learned to handle anxiety in a society that's uncomfortable with emotions. "Being honest about how we feel doesn't make us weak -- it makes us human." He gave this talk at TED Lagos in February 2017.
Sangu says that according to the World Health Organization, mental health is about being able to cope with the normal stressors of life. Globally, 75 percent of all mental illness cases can be found in low-income countries. Yet most African governments invest less than one percent of their health care budget in mental health. There is also a shortage of mental health professionals. How then, does one pursue a path to mental health?