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WHO Mental Health Forum: Enhancing country action on mental health

22nd October 2019

The WHO Mental Health Forum, held at the WHO Headquarters Geneva from 14-15 October 2019, provided an opportunity for stakeholders to discuss country progress on WHO’s Mental Health Action Plan under the theme “Enhancing Country Action on Mental Health”.

The Forum was an opportunity for WHO to launch several new resources and consult on ways forward to respond to mental health challenges worldwide, as required by the recognition of mental health and neurological conditions as an additional priority for the NCD response in the political declaration of the 2018 High Level Meeting.

In his opening remarks, WHO’s Assistant Director-General for Communicable and Noncommunicable Diseases, Dr Ren Minghui, expressed satisfaction with the growing size of the forum with each passing year. He re-affirmed WHO’s commitment to the provision of technical support that is appropriate, timely, and has a country-level impact. 17 governments made statements, and there were interventions from several civil society organizations for mental health.

Highlights of the Forum included the launch of the WHO mhGAP community toolkit (field testing version), the unveiling of WHO’s Special Initiative for Mental Health (2019 – 2023) which was discussed in detail with participants, and a recap of WHO’s month-long campaign on Suicide prevention.  In depth sessions during the Forum, included the Minimum Services Package for mental health and psychosocial support in humanitarian settings, WHO QualityRights initiative, and WHO’s integrated approach to brain health.

As required by the 2018 HLM political declaration, WHO is preparing a set of recommended policy interventions in relation to mental health, to be proposed for consideration by the WHO Executive Board at its next meeting in February 2020.

Recently released WHO mental health reports and resources:

Forthcoming reports: due for release in 2019 / 2020

WHO reports are forthcoming on Promoting Recovery & Person-centred care (QualityRights training and guidance modules due in November 2019); Scalable Psychological Interventions (WHO position paper on integrated care for brain health); range of reports and products on dementia and brain health; papers related to children and adolescents and training tools to support non-specialist workers in providing mental health support.

Further information available at www.who.int/mental_health/en/