Mental Health and International Development: Launch of DFID’s Position Paper and Voices from the Field

20 Aug 2020, 11:00 to 12:30

This webinar is co-hosted by the Centre for Global Mental Health (CGMH) at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and the Bond Sub-Group on Mental Health and Psychosocial Disability.

Free and open to the public, particularly people interested in mental health and international development.

Speakers will include:

  • DFID:
    • Diana Dalton (Head of Inclusive Societies Department)
    • Alastair Ager (Deputy Chief Scientific Advisor)
  • Academic:
    • Julian Eaton (CBM Global and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine)
    • Tom Shakespeare (PENDA, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine)
  • Civil society:
    • Alberto Vásquez (Office of UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities)
    • Olayinka Omigbodun (University of Ibadan)
    • Amanda Essien (TLM Nigeria)
    • Esenam Drah (MEHSOG, Ghana, Global MH Peer Network, and Time to Change Global)





Chair: Julian Eaton, LSHTM and CBM Global


5 min

Diana Dalton, Head of Inclusive Societies Department, DFID

Welcome and introduction to webinar. Background to DFID’s work in mental health


15 min

Alastair Ager, Deputy Chief Scientific Advisor, DFID

Introduction to DFID’s Theory of Change, Position Paper and Topic Guide. Applications in context of COVID-19


10 min

Tom Shakespeare: Professor of Disability Research, LSHTM

Impact of COVID on mental health of people with disabilities in LMICs, with a special focus on psychosocial disabilities.


20 min


Alberto Vásquez, Office of Special Rapporteur

Olayinka Omigbodun, University of Ibadan

Amanda Essien, TLM Nigeria

Esenam Drah, MEHSOG

Chaired panel, discussing experiences in mental health and development, including COVID, highlighting relevant aspects of the Theory of Change


20 min

Audience Q&A with panelists

Panelists discuss questions submitted by audience via Zoom chat


5 min



Wrap-up and further information


The COVID-19 outbreak has underscored the importance of mental health and well-being to our daily lives and our work. Mental health is something that helps all of us live full lives, but in times of stress, we can all experience distress, or even develop mental health conditions. Meanwhile, people with mental health conditions are more likely to be in vulnerable situations that worsen the social, emotional, physical and economic impacts of the pandemic, and all too often are “left behind” in emergency response as well as ongoing development efforts.

In recent years, the Department for International Development (DFID) of the United Kingdom (UK) has been working to articulate its position and approach to the integration of mental health into other development sectors. This webinar will bring together development professionals from DFID and civil society to formally launch DFID’s Theory of Change and Position Paper on mental health and psychosocial disabilities, as well as a new K4D-DFID Topic Guide on mental health for development professionals.

We will also take this opportunity to learn from development professionals currently working in the field to integrate mental health into their COVID-19 response, as well as the experience of people affected by mental health conditions.

Cover photograph: Children playing games in Sri Lanka, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0. © michaeljphotography