October 10th is World Mental Health Day and this year the focus is on suicide prevention. We know preventing suicide is possible. We also know that hopelessness is a predictor of suicide, and that hope is teachable. We want to encourage you to take action towards increasing hope in your community.

On this important day, we launch #iRISE #weRISE – an activation to create a Mental Health Friendly Cities (MHFC) movement around the world to support the life journey of people, with youth leading the way. #iRISE #weRISE begins a dialogue across youth and cities and creates a conversation around how we RISE for mental health – for ourselves, for our family and community, and for humanity. Join us in action as we RISE to create a healthier world:

  • Take the Hope training, to learn more about how you can rise and create a hopeful mindset.
  • Connect with others and download the 7 Cups Peer to Peer Support App. Listen to someone in need, or have it handy if you are ever in need to help others rise.
  • Join our campaign. Take a picture of yourself showcasing how you rise, or one in your community showcasing how we rise, for mental health. Be sure to use hashtags #iRISE #weRISE @citiesRISE
    • #iRISE – Take a photo of yourself, doing something that showcases how you rise in relation to your own self. What helps connect you to your own inner strength, what inspires you, helps you believe in yourself, makes you feel more connected, uplifts you? What can we do in action? What might inspire someone else? Get as creative as possible!
    • #weRISE – Take a picture that showcases what we as a society must do to rise and create mental health friendly cities to support humanity.
We hope you join us on this journey and we look forward to seeing and sharing all of the ways that people RISE around the world.

Resources for Mental Health Support

We are doing exciting work in five cities around the world. As we join forces with many other cities and partners to build out the movement, we wanted to share some key resources in our core cities. Please check out and help build this information list as a public resource and share through your networks. 

If you or someone you know is suicidal, there is help.

A Note from Moitreyee

This year’s World Mental Health Day theme — suicide prevention — highlights the need to transform the systems and structures in which we live. It is a powerful reminder of the importance of mental health in our daily lives. It is an occasion to celebrate how we RISE through the struggles and triumphs of life. 

We often forget how interconnected the world is today. In some ways, we are more connected now than ever before. Yet, many people struggle to find opportunities for connecting deeply with their own selves, with others around them, with nature, with their own feelings, with their experiences, and with their voice. Unlike the past, we now have an opportunity to address challenges that previously felt insurmountable within individuals and in society. It begins with a commitment to the integration of the human being and the interconnectedness of humanity. That is why we created this campaign. To reflect, feel, and show how we can empower ourselves and our communities to RISE. 

My thoughts on these questions have very much been shaped by my childhood experiences growing up in Bengal, where every manner of human challenge leapt forward. As a child, I spent many hours listening to the life stories of people who had to leave everything behind them in order to look for a new beginning. These stories of loss, trauma, dreams and triumphs revealed common threads which have continued to stand out throughout my life and work experience, woven through the fabric of so many examples of human hope and resilience, and backed by the growing body of research on global mental health.

With Mental Health Friendly Cities, we seek to change this dynamic by bringing together the youth voices of a community to break the boundaries of sectors and generations. We work with young people because I recall my own youth, the isolation I felt and my thwarted attempts to find connection. I hope to transform how society regards mental health so that no child faces those same challenges. By engaging with young people, we can truly change the essence of mental health—rather than view it as a problem that must be solved, it can become an opportunity for all of us to live more fulfilling lives.  

This is my philosophy, my strategy, and my journey. This is how I RISE.

How we RISE

Young people do not want to be left behind in the mental health conversations as they understand their realities better. Let us continue supporting and listening to them for us to achieve mental health friendly cities.

— Yvonne, Youth Leader, Nairobi

The youth of today are fighting their mental health battles in silence and shame. citiesRISE is finally bringing together stakeholders across sectors to ensure that these battles are no longer being fought in the shadows.

— Samiya Nasim, Youth Leader and Co-Founder, LonePack

Young people have an unprecedented social and environmental awareness that has the potential to transform our society towards being more mental health friendly and sustainable. It begins and ends with Love.

— Lian Zeitz, Global Youth Advocate, Director of Youth Engagement and Advocacy, citiesRISE

We look for big ideas that we can shift. In the case of citiesRISE, it is really shifting the idea of how all of us think about mental health. It’s something we think is very important, that the whole world shifts their thinking around mental health.

— Rakesh Rajani, Vice President, Co-Impact

This is a very strategic investment. Young people are a key population. If we keep this population healthy, it is the future of our country and the investment in mental health will support outcomes across all aspects of life.

— Simon Njuguna Kahonge, Director of Mental Health, MOH Kenya

The urgent priority now is to listen and be led by those who are experts in their own experience.

— Kate Cornford, OECD

A mental health friendly city is a place where I see a lot of meaningful engagement of citizens with their environment, and also greater action on altruism and volunteering.

— Prabha S. Chandra, NIMHANS

Connecting with kindred spirits, like minds, like hearts on a common agenda. That is hopeful.

— Jacqui Dyer, Black Thrive

It has been a major opportunity for the professional community that we can use our interest and capacity to produce positive developments in the way we work in partnership with citiesRISE.

— Helen Hermann, President, World Psychiatric Association

We need cities that promote wellbeing - where it’s easy to eat well, do physical activity, and build mental health resilience. Policies matter.

— Stefan Swartling Peterson, Chief of Health, UNICEF

We need better mental health services, for treatment and promotion, but most importantly we need a massive shift in focus towards prevention! Prevention starts at the age of adolescence and it is imperative that our communities support young people in order for them to grow into thriving adults.

— Chantelle Booysen, Global Mental Health Advocate and Leader

This alliance provides us with an opportunity to learn about the experiences of large cities in the world that are taking joint actions, between different sectors, in order to develop strategies and spaces that are friendly to communities.

— Luis Gonzalo Morales Sánchez, Secretary of Health, Bogota