Movement for global mental health is launched on World Mental Health Day

October 09, 2008

One year on from its landmark Series on Global Mental Health, The Lancet is, on World Mental Health Day (WMHD), publishing a Viewpoint announcing the launch of the Movement for Global Mental Health. The paper is written by Professor Vikram Patel, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK, and Professor Martin Prince, Institute of Psychiatry at King's College London, UK -- two of the key figures in the original Lancet Series -- and colleagues.

The theme of this year's WMHD (October 10) is "Making Mental Health a Global Priority -- Scaling Up Services through Citizen Advocacy and Action", and uses information from the Lancet Series to encourage renewed efforts for well-informed mental-health public policy advocacy at all levels in all countries.

Since the launch of The Lancet Series in London in September 2007, there have been country-level launches in Australia, Brazil, Chile, and the USA, and a launch in India will take place on October 17, 2008. All these events were attended by policymakers, consumer representatives, and mental-health professionals, and received wide media coverage. Specific examples of the progress attained in just one year can be seen in Brazil, Vietnam, and Indonesia. In January 2008, Brazil created the Support Teams for Family Health Teams -- with their purpose to strengthen the link between mental-health care and primary care by integrating the two. The National Taskforce on Community Mental Health System Development in Vietnam was established in February 2008, with two aims -- first, to produce national strategies on mental-health care for 2011-15, and second to encourage the Vietnamese Government to increase its budget for mental health-care by some US$2.00 per person per year (from a negligible $0.18 to $1.86), as recommended in the call to action in The Lancet Series. The National Taskforce on Community Mental Health System Development in Indonesia was created in June 2008, with technical support from the Centre for International Mental Health, Melbourne, and funding from multiple donors. Its job will be to strengthen mental-health systems at district and provincial levels.

The Movement for Global Mental Health (www.globalmentalhealth.org) incorporates not only key figures from The Lancet Series, but was expanded to include greater representation of users, women, and civil society worldwide. The authors say: "The movement is not an organisation. It has no constitution, no office, no board of governors, and no budgets. Anybody and any organisation can join the movement; all that is required is support for the specific goals of scaling up services for and protecting the human rights of people living with mental disorders."

The movement has proposed five priority actions*, covering global advocacy, systems of development including specific care packages, research promotion, capacity building, and monitoring of progress of countries in scaling up mental-health care.

The authors conclude: "The network of individuals and organizations committed to these goals will be at the heart of the movement. Through the shared values and coordinated actions that harness the enormous motivation and creativity of the diverse stakeholders for mental health, the movement will seek to achieve its goals. Ultimately, we hope that substantial progress in scaling up services for people with mental disorders will take its place alongside progress in HIV/AIDS treatment and maternal and child survival as one the great public-health successes of our times."

An accompanying Editorial in this week's Lancet says: "The Movement for Global Mental Health includes users, providers, scientists, institutions, civil society, and policy makers. The Movement is truly global and inclusive. Its website already shows the broad diversity of partners who have signed up to the Movement's call to action.

"The next phase of the Movement is to scale up and widen the range of science being undertaken, develop advocacy efforts, attract more funding, and influence policy makers. A report card on progress will be given at a global mental-health summit to take place in Athens at the World Forum on Mental Health on Sept 2, 2009."
-end-
Professor Vikram Patel, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK, and Sangrath Centre, Goa, IndiaT) +91-9822132038 E) vikram.patel@lshtm.ac.uk

Professor Martin Prince, Institute of Psychiatry at King's College London, UK T) +44 (0) 7778 434926 / +44 (0) 20 7848 0137 E) Martin.Prince@iop.kcl.ac.uk

Lancet Press Office T) +44 (0) 20 7424 4949 E) pressoffice@lancet.com

*notes to editors: see panel 3, page 1356 of full Viewpoint for more detail on the five proposals

full viewpoint: http://press.thelancet.com/mentalhealth.pdf

Lancet

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