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October

Movement for Global Mental Health is launched on World Mental Health Day

OCTOBER 10, 2008

On World Mental Health Day (WMHD), a Viewpoint announcing the launch of the Movement for Global Mental Health was published. The paper was written by Professor Martin Prince, Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London, UK and Professor Vikram Patel, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK

The theme of this year’s WMHD (October 10) is “Making Mental Health a Global Priority — Scaling Up Services through Citizen Advocacy and Action”.

Since the launch of 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)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) 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.”
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