Skip to main content

27 July 2023

Professor Charlotte Hanlon shares the impact of worldwide collaborations in her Inaugural Lecture

Professor Charlotte Hanlon delivered the final lecture of the 2022/23 Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) Inaugural Lecture Series, titled ‘Working to improve the things that matter to people with mental health conditions in Ethiopia (and beyond)’.

Charlotte hanlon inaugural lecture
Left to right: Professor Martin Prince, Professor Atalay Alem, Professor Charlotte Hanlon, Professor Dame Til Wykes.

Charlotte Hanlon is Professor of Global Mental Health at the IoPPN and Co-Director of the Centre for Global Mental Health at King’s with Professor Crick Lund. She also co-directs the World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre for Mental Health Research and Training with Dr Tatiana Salisbury.

In her Inaugural Lecture, which took place in the Wolfson Lecture Theatre at the IoPPN on Tuesday 11 July 2023, Professor Hanlon talked about her education and the development of her global mental health research throughout her career. She highlighted how international collaborations with researchers and lived experience experts have had a critical role in improving global mental health.

Professor Dame Til Wykes, Head of the School of Mental Health & Psychological Sciences at the IoPPN, opened the lecture with a welcome speech showcasing Professor Hanlon’s success: "Charlotte is currently Professor of Global Mental Health in my School and Co-Director of the Centre for Global Mental Health in the Department of Health Service and Population Research. Although her Professorship is here at the IoPPN, she's also an adjunct Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia... She has received prizes for her wide range of research skills which she uses to understand and improve the lives of people with psychosis in low- and middle-income countries."

Everything is about partnership: I’ve talked about our partnerships with communities, people with lived experience, and within the research consortia… We’ve had this collaborative relationship between Addis Ababa University and King’s College London for over 20 years now, and there’s something very important about having an enduring relationship within which you can do projects. Our model of working, which has foregrounded expanding capacity, early career researchers, and equitable working, […] enables us to do much better, higher quality work, with much stronger impact on the ground.

Professor Charlotte Hanlon

Professor Hanlon first went to Ethiopia from 2004-2006 to carry out her PhD work on the public health impact of perinatal mental health in a rural Ethiopian setting. She returned to Ethiopia in 2009, where she now co-ordinates the PhD programme for Mental Health Epidemiology at Addis Ababa University and is involved in clinical work, service development and policy, alongside her research work.

The focus of Professor Hanlon’s research is on developing, testing and implementing interventions that seek to improve the lives of people with mental health conditions in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). She works closely with people affected by severe mental health conditions, including psychoses and developmental disabilities, and has supported the implementation of mental health treatment programmes in Ethiopia, India, Nepal, South Africa and Uganda.

She is now principal investigator on HOPE, an NIHR global health research group on homelessness and mental health in Ethiopia, Ghana and Kenya, and SCOPE, a study of the context of psychosis in Ethiopia to achieve earlier and better care.

Professor Hanlon’s PhD supervisors, Atalay Alem, Professor of Psychiatry at Addis Ababa University (Ethiopia), and Martin Prince, Professor of Epidemiological Psychiatry at the IoPPN, gave the closing vote of thanks.

Charlotte’s contribution to Ethiopia is great… She has done so many things to change lives, policy and capacity building in the country as a whole with regards to mental health research and services. Charlotte, you’re a very good friend. I would like to say on behalf of my department and my country, we are proud of you.

Professor Atalay Alem, Professor of Psychiatry at Addis Ababa University

Professor Martin Prince said: “You have so much love and so much respect in you, and you apply that to being a cultural guide to anyone from the UK who might wish to engage in Ethiopia – the values, the ethics, the morals, the importance of equity in all of the relationships that you have, are something that you’ve made sure that anyone who wants to engage acts out according to the very high standards that you yourself have set. You are, I know, enormously respected in Ethiopia for who you are, for your prestigious hard work, and for all the extraordinary things that you have achieved.”

Watch the full lecture below and view Professor Hanlon's slides here.

In this story

Charlotte Hanlon

Professor of Global Mental Health