Working with World Bodies

Global Mental Health Advocacy Leadership Forum

A Forum, convened recently in Belgium, provided an opportunity for representatives from five leading mental health organizations from around the world – including WFSAD – to build relationships, focus on issues for collaboration and ultimately enhance their ability to be heard on important mental health matters. The result of the Forum was a five-point plan of action for the purpose of developing and sustaining collaborative efforts.

Press Release
Leuven, Belgium, 04 July 2007

Five international mental health organizations whose members represent more than 100 countries, met in Leuven, Belgium July 2nd to 4th for the first Global Mental Health Advocacy Leadership Forum. The participating organizations were the European Federation of Associations of Families of People with Mental Illness (EUFAMI), the Global Alliance of Mental Illness Advocacy Networks (GAMIAN-Europe), Mental Health Europe (MHE), the World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH), and the World Fellowship for Schizophrenia and Allied Disorders (WFSAD).

Goals of Forum
Leadership of the participating organizations share the belief that this is an important time in the evolution of mental health treatment and services, public mental health policy, promotion, prevention and public awareness worldwide. The primary goal for organizing and convening the Forum was to provide a significant opportunity for organizations to:

Challenges Facing Mental Health Movement
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 450 million people worldwide are affected by a mental illness or mental health problems; yet, fewer that 4 in 10 will receive any intervention or support. In spite of these dire statistics, the gap continues to widen between the growing burden of disease caused by mental health problems and the amount of funding available to address them.

The mental health movement faces a number of critical challenges, including:

These leading mental health NGOs recognize the importance of developing a more united global voice to promote effective action to address these and other important issues and to advance mental health as a global health priority.

Areas of Discussion
Among the areas discussed were: 

Plan of Action
The participants proposed a five-point plan of action through which to develop and sustain their collaborative efforts to carry out the following:

List of Participants

Ms. INGER NILSSON, President
MR. KEVIN JONES, Secretary-General

Ms. RALUCA NICA, Immediate Past President                                        l
Mr. YORAM COHEN, Vice-President                                               

Ms. MALGORZATA KMITA, President                                             
Ms. MARY VAN DIEVEL, Director                                                              

Ms. SHONA STURGEON, President                      
Mr. PRESTON GARRISON, Secretary General/CEO           

Dr. DALE JOHNSON, President                                  
TRISH RUEBOTTOM, Executive Director