Sustainable development through global action:
The case for investing in mental health
Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London
27-28 September 2013
On the 27th and 28th of September 2013, the Centre for Global Mental Health (CGMH) hosted its inaugural Global Mental Health Forum at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London. The theme of the forum was “Sustainable development through global action: The case for investing in mental health”. The aim of this event was to encourage the sharing of evidence and experience to strengthen the case for greater investment in mental health research and services around the world – especially in low and middle income countries (LAMIC). The Forum was a success, bringing together over 200 researchers, mental health workers, consumers, clinicians, policymakers, funders, health service providers, caregivers, advocates and students from over 22 countries including Australia, Brazil, Ethiopia, Ghana, Great Britain, India, Malaysia, Nigeria, Norway, South Africa, Spain and the USA.
The programme consisted largely of submitted oral and poster presentations and workshops. Over the two days, 70 innovators, including 15 delegates from LAMIC, shared successes, struggles, evidence and knowledge on a wide range of topics vital to the provision of mental health care across the globe, such as capacity building, service user experience, mhGAP implementation, mental health care integration, women’s mental health, legislation and policy, mental health in post-conflict settings and peer-delivered interventions. Plenary sessions included presentations by Dr Shekhar Saxena (Director, Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, World Health Organisation), Dr Dan Chisholm (World Health Organisation), Prof Crick Lund (University of Cape Town, South Africa) and Dr Sheila Ndyanabangi (Ministry of Health, Uganda) who provided motivating stories and evidence for the improvement of mental health services. Workshops addressed ways to improve the sustainability of the mental health workforce, examples of low tech therapy and how to use mhGAP as a teaching tool. The Forum programme is available for download at the bottom of this page.
Poster prizes were awarded by Professors Martin Prince and Vikram Patel to Grace Ryan (Formative Research to Scale-Up Clinical Monitoring and Evaluation for Community Mental Health Services in Benue State, Nigeria) and Hans Kristian Maridal (Quality of Life, Coping Skills and Mental Distress among Parents of Disabled Children in Nepal) for their outstanding work and presentation. The People’s Prize, as voted by the attending delegates, was awarded to Shaazneen Ali (Case Study on the Home for People with Special Needs, Kaafu Atoll, Guraidhoo - The only “mental health institution” in the Maldives).
Hack day event
Day two of the Forum saw the first CGMH Hack Day. During this event, delegates exchanged ideas with professionals from the tech industry and other mental health stakeholders to address major challenges to the field of global mental health. Following lively discussion between participants, four challenges were selected and participants spent the rest of the day in collaboration to create a mix of thoughtful innovations which combined evidence, previous experience and forward thinking.
At the end of the day, Hack Day participants and Forum delegates came together to share and discuss the following innovations:
- Improving access to peer support networks through mobile technology;
- Tackling abnormal adolescent stress levels using a bio-data monitoring wristband solution;
- Addressing mental health problems linked to adolescent obesity through sensor-embedded underpants; and
- Enhancing the scope of mental health training in West Africa through the use of existing low-cost technology.
Building on the success of this year’s forum, the next Global Mental Health Forum will be held in 2015. We hope to increase participation of researchers from LAMIC and expand the number of countries represented within presentations. The enthusiasm of Forum delegates and tech industry professionals to learn and participate in the Hack Day highlighted the need for greater multidisciplinary collaboration in the field of global mental health. As a result of this event, the CGMH will be exploring new initiatives, such as the creation of an online space or a standalone hack day, to increase opportunities for greater collaboration across disciplines and interests.
We would like to acknowledge the Wellcome Trust for their sponsorship of the Forum though their funding of travel expenses for presenters from low and middle income countries and Grand Challenges Canada for their sponsorship of the Hack Day.
Click here to access PDF files of the conference presentations