On 8-9 October 2015, WHO hosted its mhGAP Forum, which is convened every year in Geneva to promote collaboration and coordinated action to address progress in global mental health. The Lisbon Institute of Global Mental Health attended this important Forum.
The Forum was attended by nearly 40 Member States, including several at Ambassador level, as well as by 150 other participants from United Nations agencies, international development partners, philanthropic foundations, NGOs, academic and research institutions, and WHO Collaborating Centres. Many participants were from low and middle income countries.
A key theme for this year’s Forum concerned the uptake of innovation into mental health policy and practice at the national level, with a number of leading researchers invited to interact with their own national decision-makers as well as other forum participants. This part of the Forum was supported by Grand Challenges Canada, a nongovernmental organization funded by the Government of Canada. A further focus was on dignity in mental health, reflecting the theme of this year’s World Mental Health Day; Forum participants heard moving testimonies from two invited speakers about their lived experience of mental illness, the challenges they experienced, and the central role that dignity played in their recovery. The theme of dignity in mental health also touched many people worldwide, reflected in the fact that @WHO’s tweet on this subject was retweeted over 9,600 times which made it the most retweeted tweet in WHO history, and the second most retweeted message from a UN agency.
In addition, it was acknowledged that the inclusion of mental health into the Sustainable Development Goals represents an important milestone towards the enhanced recognition of mental health as a vital concern for collective as well as individual health and development. Progress made in implementation of Comprehensive Mental Health Action Plan 2013 -2020 was reviewed. The Forum also launched the Disease Control Priorities 3, volume on Mental, Neurological and Substance Use Disorders.