WISH comes true for Mental Health

20 Dec 2013 - 12:00

The inaugural World Innovation Summit on Health, an initiative aimed at promoting and facilitating innovation in healthcare delivery globally, was attended in Doha in December 2013 by almost 1000 health experts and policy makers. 

Among other health issues, mental health was placed firmly on the agenda of the Summit in the form of a Panel Discussion. PRIME Research Director and Panel member, Prof Vikram Patel, added:

"As recently as 5 years ago, it would have been improbable to imagine the words 'mental health' and 'global health' in the same sentence, indicating that we have come a long way to see mental health discussed as an important issue in a major congress devoted to global health."   - Prof Vikram Patel

Another Panel member and WHO partner in PRIME, Dr Shekhar Saxena, was equally upbeat regarding the progress made, emphasising the fact that Health Ministers of all 194 WHO member countries passed and agreed upon the Global Mental Health Action Plan for the very first time at the 66th World Health Assembly in May 2013. 
[Watch 2 min interview with Dr Saxena]

Among the keynote speakers at the Summit were Burmese Nobel Peace Prize laureate and presidential candidate for Myanmar's next election, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who emphasised the importance of tackling physical and mental health holistically when considering health system reforms, and acknowledged the need to address stigma in mental health. 

The WISH Report on Mental Health, intended to be a roadmap of action for policy makers and stakeholders, was also released in time for the Summit.

Citing the UKAid funded PRIME as a good example of how researchers and policy makers can work together, the report identifies 6 specific policy actions, and provides helpful summaries of promising examples of solutions from around the world which can be easily delivered to achieve these policy actions.

Panelists and audience members were in general agreement that there has been tremendous progress in the mental health policy realm, and that the challenge going forward is to implement the plans in countries, domestically. 
    
Resources: 
WISH Report on Mental Health (PDF)
Mental Health Forum Panel Discussion (1 hour 14 min video).