Category Archives: News and Conference Updates

(brief global mental health news, recap of conferences)

End of the year read: Mental Health Care News from Asia

image from transitionsabroad

image from transitionsabroad

This article is a trip through the current mental health field of Asia in 51 recent articles about 16 Asian countries.
Mental health services, legislation and capacity building on the Asian continent are developing step by step, although great challenges remain as you can read.
Not all countries and topics are included; it’s just an attempt to give you an impression about what’s going on and how it is reported. Continue reading

What can YOU do on World Mental Health Day 10-10-2013?

picWorld-Mental-Health-Day-10-October-badge-HD-PicturesEvery 10th of October it’s World Mental Health Day. This is a day for global mental health education, awareness and advocacy. It’s an initiative of the World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH) and the World Health Organization (WHO) and was first celebrated in 1992.
Today each 10th of October thousands of supporters come to celebrate this annual awareness program to bring attention to mental illness and its major effects on peoples’ life worldwide. In some countries this day is part of the larger Mental Illness Awareness Week. The theme of this year is ‘Mental Health and Older Adults’. Continue reading

WHO releases new guidelines for treating conditions related to stress, trauma and losses

Yesterday, the World Health Organization (WHO) Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse released 2 new guidelines, a news release and an article in the The Journal of the American Medical Association.

In the last couple of years, the WHO had received numerous requests for guidance for mental health care after trauma and loss. These 2 publications are the result of the work of dozens practitioners and organizations in the field, including the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Continue reading

UNITAR-EMDR Europe Conference Geneva in 25 Tweets:

‏This time together with UNITAR (United Nations Institute for Training and Research), EMDR Europe organized it’s 14th annual conference in Geneva. This corporation with UNITAR resulted in a special track for UN and humanitarian agencies personal, with topics about work with refugees, with abused children, after natural disasters and in acute trauma, with people who were kidnapped, and with relief workers. Continue reading

Recap of the Cultural Psychiatry and Global Mental Health Conference May 31st 2013

Last Friday, May 31th, I attended this one day conference, which was organized to mark the farewell of Joop de Jong as Professor at the VU University in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, Europe.
I hope the VU will publish the full text of the lecture of prof de Jong (‘Soul searching, a journey into global mental health’) online, but I can’t find it yet. So, here below are a few points he made in this farewell lecture.
Abstracts and bio’s of the other keynote speakers (Stevan Hobfoll, Devon Hinton and Vikram Patel), few forum speakers and chair (Daniel Botha, Mark van Ommeren), and the 21 symposium presenters are available online (26 pages pdf), together with the bio of prof de Jong. In the symposia a lot of qualitative/quantitative research and reports from all over the world. Continue reading

Global Mental Health and the 66th session of the World Health Assembly 20-28 May 2013

The World Health Assembly is the senior decision-making body of the World Health Organization (WHO). It generally meets in May each year, and is attended by delegations from all 194 Member States. Its main function is to determine the policies of WHO. This week the 66th session of the World Health Assembly (WHA) is taking place in Geneva. Continue reading

Join the new WHO Global Clinical Practice Network. Revision of the ICD-10.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is forming a global network of mental health professionals to help the development of the classification of Mental and Behavioral Disorders in next version of the International Classification of Diseases (the ICD-11), which is currently planned for publication in 2015.
The ICD is designed as a health care classification system like the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), but provides a system of diagnostic codes for all kind of diseases; it’s not limited to mental disorders.
Your participation in the Global Clinical Practice Network (GCPN) would involve reviewing materials, giving your feedback about ideas or concepts that are developing as part of the ICD-11 classification of mental disorders, or participating in specific types of field studies.
Registration for the GCPN takes 5 to 10 minutes, and is available in eight languages. As of March 2013, the GCPN has over 3500 members and they expect that number to grow up to 10,000 by mid-2013.
Their hope is to see the GCPN expand, beyond the ICD-11 development process, and develop into a useful collaborative and information-sharing tool in the future for mental health and primary care professionals world-wide.
Full Global Clinical Practice Network website will be coming soon. For info mail

Is the Global Mental Health Field in 2013 showered with too much meetings?

To mention a couple of Global Mental Health and international Psychiatry conferences this year:
1. May 31 Amsterdam, Europe: Cultural Psychiatry and Global Mental Health Symposium,
2. June 19-23 Istanbul, Turkey, Europe: World Psychiatric Association International Congress,
3. August 5-7 the Gold Coast, Australia: The 14th International Mental Health Conference,
4. 21-22 August Bangkok, Thailand, Asia: 3rd Global Mental Health Summit of the Movement for GMH,
5. August 25-28 Buenos Aires, Argentina, South America: World Mental Health Congress of the World Federation for Mental Health,
6. September 27-28 London, UK: CGMH Conference: Sustainable development through global action: The case for investing in mental health,
7.October 3-4 Lisbon, Portugal, Europe: First high-level technical meeting of The Gulbenkian Global Mental Health Platform,
8. October 27-30 Vienna, Austria, Europe: World Psychiatric Association (WPA) International Congress.
How much will this cost? I dare not to count (I’m always worried that more money is going to travel, hotels and meetings than to capacity building in the global mental health field).
Will there be new info and new attendees? Or are the same people traveling and listening to each others presentations over and over again? Would we be better off with one big international meeting each year? Each two years? Or offer these different meetings in different corners of the world better opportunities?
Would it be better to organize such meetings in a low income country in stead of Europe or Australia?
Is it fair to organize conferences about global mental health without funding for people from low and middle income countries?
What do you think?

Where is Mental Health on the Global agenda’s? Vote!

Where is Mental Health in the NCDs (Non Communicable Diseases), the MDGs (Millennium Development Goals), the UHC (Universal Health Coverage) movement, or the Post-2015 Development Agenda? And what are the current developments in policies and the new Worldwide plans and priorities? And where can we exert our influence?
Harry Minas and Jan-Paul Kwasik have been writing an excellent article about this called ‘The Post-2015 Development Agenda’. Full text (about 2 pages) is available at the Movement for Global Mental Health website. Great read; in 5 minutes you are up to date.
They call for more action from stakeholders in global mental health too. They urge people to vote at the World We Want 2015 website: After signing up (make an account), click on ‘Add Your Voice’. Or at the My World 2015 website: Without signing up (so, you don’t have to make an account) choose 5 priorities from the list and important!: use the ‘suggest a priority (optional)’ at the bottom of the list of priorities. Here you can add ‘Mental Health’ as your number 6.

Release of the DSM-5 in 2 weeks. The debate goes on.

The release of DSM-5 will take place during the American Psychiatric Association (APA) 2013 Annual Meeting in San Francisco, May 18-22, 2013.
The DSM-5 is the fifth edition of the APA’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. It’s the most widely used classification system in mental health worldwide and it’s used or relied upon by clinicians, researchers, insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, and policy makers, etc.
The APA runs a special DSM-5 website, where you can find all kind of background information.
Since the first DSM publication in 1952, the manual has always attracted praise, controversy and criticism. You can find a nice overview of all this criticism in the Wikipedia DSM page.
A few very recent articles and comments are:
April 24, David Adam in Nature: ‘Mental health: On the spectrum’. ‘Research suggests that mental illnesses lie along a spectrum, but the field’s latest diagnostic manual still splits them apart’.
April 29, Thomas Insel, National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) USA: ‘Transforming Diagnosis’. ‘The DSM diagnoses are based on a consensus about clusters of clinical symptoms, not any objective laboratory measure’ and ‘That is why NIMH will be re-orienting its research away from DSM categories’.
May 4, John Horgan, Citizens Commission on Human Rights International (CCHRint): Psychiatry in Crisis! Mental Health Director Rejects Psychiatric “Bible” and Replaces With… Nothing, ‘Instead of forming fancy new programs and initiatives and alliances, leaders in mental health should perhaps do some humble, honest soul searching before they decide how to proceed’.
May 6, David Kupfer in Psychiatric News Alert: ‘David Kupfer, M.D., Responds to Criticism of DSM-5 by NIMH Director’. With a link to the the complete text of Kupfer’s statement.
May 6, Pam Belluck and Benedict Carey in The New York Times: Psychiatry’s Guide Is Out of Touch With Science, Experts Say.
Will be continued….