Summit on Global Mental Health Sparks Critical Response

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From the APA Div. 32: Society for Humanistic Psychology: “On Oct. 9-10, 2018, World Mental Health Day, the United Kingdom (UK) government hosted a Global Mental Health Ministerial Summit with the intention of laying out a course of action to implement mental health policies globally. In the same week, The Lancet Commission on Global Mental Health and Sustainable Development published a report outlining a proposal for ‘scaling up’ mental health care globally. In response, a coalition of mental health activists and service-users have organized an open letter detailing their concerns with the summit and report. The response has attracted the support of policy-makers, psychologists, psychiatrists and researchers.

The open letter raises several concerns with the positioning of the UK summit and calls on the organizers and leaders of the event to reflect on issues of discrimination and human rights abuses in mental health treatment in their home countries before recreating these systems abroad. The signatories raise the issue of representation and participation, writing:

‘Significantly, there has been little or no involvement of organizations led by mental health service users, survivors and persons with psychosocial disabilities in the thinking, planning and design of this event. While a few networks were approached to provide “experts by experiences” to attend panels on themes already decided on, there has been no meaningful consultation or involvement of user-led and disabled people’s organizations not already signed up to the “Movement for Global Mental Health” agenda or funding to enable a wide range of representatives to attend.'”

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