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WHO Collaborating Centre for Research and Training in Mental Health

The Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN), King’s College London became a World Health Organization Collaborating Centre (WHOCC) in 1992. The Centre is hosted within the Health Services and Population Research (HSPR) Department where researchers collaborate with governments and non-governmental organisations worldwide, to develop and implement locally appropriate policies, services and training to promote mental health, prevent illness and treat and support people with mental health problems and their families.

In July 2020, Dr Tatiana Salisbury and Dr Charlotte Hanlon were appointed as Co-Directors of the WHOCC for Research and Training in Mental Health at King’s College London, with Professor Sir Graham Thornicroft retaining the position of Deputy Director.

Under the leadership of Professor Sir Graham Thornicroft, in the last 10 years, the WHOCC has actively supported the WHO Mental Health Gap Action Programme (mhGAP), working with WHO member states tackle the 'treatment gap' – the gap between services that are needed and services that are available. This includes the production of WHO's practical guidelines for use by primary health care practitioners in low- and middle-income countries. These international guidelines – the WHO mhGAP Implementation Guide – were jointly led by Professor Sir Thornicroft and Professor Shekhar Saxena, former Director of the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse at WHO in Geneva.

HSPR researchers have also worked with governments in Ethiopia, India, Nepal, Nigeria, South Africa and Uganda to put the mhGAP treatments guidelines into practice through the Programme for Improving Mental Health Care (PRIME). Active between 2011 and 2017, PRIME was funded by the UK Department for International Development. The programme for Emerging Mental Health Systems in Low- and Middle-Income countries (EMERALD), was implemented between 2012 and 2017 and helped improve services and support for people with mental health problems in the same countries as PRIME. EMERALD was funded by the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme.

Improving health and social welfare of people with dementia

The 10/66 Dementia Research Group was co-ordinated by Professor Martin Prince director of King’s Global Health Institute (run jointly by King's Health Partners and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine). The 10/66 Group was part of Alzheimer's International and is a network of research groups in in Latin America, the Caribbean, India, Russia, China and south east Asia. They work to improve the health and social welfare of older people living in low- and middle-income countries who have dementia. Their studies aim to ascertain the numbers of people who have dementia, find out about the genetic and environmental causes of dementia and develop ways of supporting people with dementia and their families. Work carried out by the 10/66 Group supports WHO activities. Information from their studies was quoted extensively in the World Health Organisation's 2012 report Dementia: a public health priority.

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