Movement for Global Mental Health Nov Newsletter — Worldwide

From the Movement for Global Mental Health — November 2017 Newsletter
See link below. As always, many thanks to our member Charlene Sunkel for her amazing work in mental health!

November newsletter also contains articles from our members and photos from the 10th Anniversary celebration of the International Diploma Program in Mental Health, Law and Human Rights in Pune, India. Many of our members have taken this program.

5th Global Mental Health Summit will take place 8-9 February 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa — see newsletter for more details.

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Gender Based Violence and Mental Health video — KOSHISH — Nepal

Excellent video describing gender based violence and mental health in Nepal. From our member in Nepal — Matrika Devkota, chairperson for KOSHISH. Thank you for sending to us Matrika. Please share and help however you can.

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Global Mental Health – Prevention and Promotion (new publication) — Global

Thank you to Dr. Sabine Bahrer-Kohler for advance notice on the upcoming publication of her book “Global Mental Health – Prevention and Promotion” with a foreword by UN Special Rapporteur Prof. Puras. At MHWW, we strongly advocate for a human rights-based framework for all mental health work and programs worldwide with a definite movement away from sole reliance on the medical model framework. The experts are the persons experiencing the mental health challenges and they have the right to a range of treatment options and the right to make their own treatment choice. We support the framework outlined in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.  

In a few days my new book is published. Perhaps it will be interesting for your organization, your teams and for example forthcoming meetings& projects et al..
Prof. Puras, MD, UN Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health has written a foreword in my book.
Global Mental Health- Prevention and Promotion
Kind Regards,
Sabine Bährer-Kohler

Prof. Dr. Sabine Bährer-Kohler
Invited Professor for Mental Health/ Mental Health & Social Determinants at Tropical Neurology and Neuroinfection Master, International University of Catalonia (UIC), Barcelona/Spain
Managing Director Dr. Bährer-Kohler& Partners, Switzerland
President, Association for Mental Health- Global Mental Health, Switzerland
IFSW Representative at the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, Switzerland

Global Mental Health

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Movement for Global Mental Health Newsletter — worldwide

From the Movement for Global Mental Health — October 2017 Newsletter
See link below. Also links to receive the newsletter via email and the website link which has numerous resources and information. Please note the newsletter now also has space at the bottom for vacancies/internship opportunities. As always, many thanks to our member Charlene Sunkel for her amazing work in mental health!

REGISTER NOW for the 5th Global Mental Health Summit, 8-9 February 2018, Johannesburg, South Africa


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WHO QualityRights Initiative Training and Guidance Modules — Worldwide

From our colleagues at the WHO. Please find the latest materials and resources connected to the WHO QualityRights Initiative via the link below. Excellent resources that can be accessed and used free of charge! Thank you for this incredible work WHO and comprehensive package! 

As part of the QualityRights Initiative, WHO has developed a comprehensive package of training and guidance modules. The modules can be used to build capacity among mental health practitioners, people with psychosocial, intellectual and cognitive disabilities, people using mental health services, families, care partners and other supporters, NGOs, DPOs and others on how to implement a human rights and recovery approach in the area of mental health in line with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and other international human rights standards.

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BasicNeeds Merges with CBM —- United Kingdom

Thank you to Adrian Sell, CEO, BasicNeeds for sending us the announcement regarding the recent merger of BasicNeeds with CBM. Please see below for more information on this exciting merger. 

People living with mental illness in low-and middle-income countries are some of the world’s most marginalised people. Mental health conditions such as depression are the leading cause of disability worldwide, often causing immense suffering and preventing people from earning a living or participating in their community. BasicNeeds is therefore excited to announce our merger with leading disability organisation, CBM UK thus creating a new strong global voice on mental health in development.

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Mymindmyfunk-Sitawa Wafula- Mental

Please see information below from Sitawa Wafula, Kenyan based mental health advocate —  website www.mymindmyfunk. Thank you Sitawa for sending us this information to share! 

My name is Sitawa Wafula, I am a Kenyan based mental health advocate. My work is born from my personal experience as a rape survivor living with a dual diagnosis of epilepsy and bipolar. I do a lot of awareness and advocacy around mental health and self care including self advocacy, media, national and international engagement.

?I am involved in content creation and mental health awareness tours. My last one was in Nigeria, visiting 6 states, read about it on the Nigerian Guardian ? and it was interesting to learn and connect with people doing mental health work in Nigeria and those interested in the field.

Here is a little more about me and my work

Here are updates about my Nigerian trip

Sending love and light,
Sitawa Wafula

Nomadic Mental Health Crusader | TED speaker |Aspen New Voices Fellow ’16 |

Amani Institute Fellow |

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Behinderung und internationale Entwicklung

Disability and International Development

C/o Institute for Inclusive Development, Wandastr. 9, 45136 Essen, Germany

Since 1990, the journal Disability and International Development is published three times a year, featuring contributions in both English and German. Its objective is the scholarly and practice-oriented discourse on disability in low-income countries. The journal aims at providing a platform for a cross-border dialogue and promoting the professional discussion of related development policy, pedagogical/educational, socio-political and intercultural questions. Each issue is dedicated to a focal topic, complemented by single contributions on other subjects and up-to-date information.

For this issue please contact the coordinating editor:

Jana Offergeld (


Research in the context of disability and international development

In which way can science contribute to social development and improve the human rights situation of people with disabilities? Among many academic and political actors there seems to be a general consensus about the crucial role of research in the realization of internationally agreed development and human rights standards – particularly the SDGs and the UN CRPD. Governmental and non-governmental stakeholders alike call for sufficient data and scientific indicators for the monitoring and further development of respective implementation programs and strategies. At the same time, criticism of the prevailing dominance of non-disabled academics from the Global North in the initiation and conduction of research in the Global South is growing.

This issue takes a look at the current research landscape in the context of disability and international development. We are particularly, but not exclusively, looking for articles focusing on the following topics:

  • The necessity and relevance of research activities for improving living conditions for people with disabilities in the global south
  • Research projects reviewing the realization of the SDGs and the UN CRPD
  • Best-practice of meaningful involvement of self-advocates with disability and other stakeholders from the Global South
  • Critical reflections about prevailing power hierarchies in the global scientific community and their impact on knowledge production and transfer

Before you send us your suggestion, please read the journal’s Information for Authors first ( – left column: “Information for Authors”) and then contact the coordinating editor for this issue: Jana Offergeld via e-mail:

Deadline for submission of papers: 15.11.2017



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The Global Coalition on Youth Mental Health launched today!! — Canada

We are happy to share with you information about The Global Coalition on Youth Mental Health that was launched today at the University of Toronto, Canada. Please  sign onto their coalition and spread social media messages of awareness and support. Go to their website for more information:

The Global Coalition on Youth Mental Health Launches in Canada to Prioritize Mental Health Around the World
Coalition Asks Organizations and Youth to Spread Social Media Messages of Awareness and Support
September 12, 2017 – Toronto, Canada – Launched today at an event during the first week of classes at the University of Toronto, the Global Coalition on Youth Mental Health will engage the mental health community to amplify the many voices advocating for youth mental health worldwide. The Coalition is an inclusive, youth-inspired initiative that asks leading mental health organizations, young people experiencing mental illness, and their communities to share the Coalition’s and its partners’ supportive social media messages, empowering young leaders to be mental health advocates. The Coalition was developed by a Steering Committee with members from, the University of Toronto, iFred, batyr, and the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies.
“It is critical to engage youth in mental health efforts, because the majority of these conditions manifest by the age of 24,” said Janine Robb, Executive Director, Health and Wellness, University of Toronto. “The Coalition invites mental health organizations, advocates, and individuals to join us and share messages that reach people during this pivotal time when they are beginning to build independent lives and careers. We are engaging mental health organizations in Canada and around the globe to join a community that will amplify constructive social media voices and share resources for young people.”
Beginning at the launch, the Coalition asks organizations, advocates, and individuals to share positive social media messages using the hashtag, #195forMentalHealth. The hashtag represents the question: what if all 195 countries prioritized youth mental health? The campaign will focus on helping its member organizations amplify each other’s social voices and activate the voice of young people across the world, initially in Canada and advancing to include other countries. By doing so, the Coalition hopes to create a groundswell that global leaders cannot ignore, prompting a much-needed focus on youth mental health.

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Mental Health and Human Rights in Cameroon – an update — Cameroon

We are very happy to share with you an update from our member in Cameroon, Didier Demassosso. Didier has been a strong voice for mental health and human rights in Cameroon and he has just been recently awarded a Cameroon Human Rights Fellowship for 2017!!

Congratulations Didier!!

Reflecting on three little-big leaps in mental health development in Cameroon during 2016

The First Cameroonian days of Mental Health held from the 15th to the 17th of December 2015 organised by the Ministry of Public Health was historical. Since then a new impetus has driven the mental health sector in Cameroon. It should be said that mental health is not still a priority in Cameroon. A lot still has to be done in mental health promotion, increasing human resources in mental health, mental health financing, mental health advocacy, and mental health legislation. The larval efforts since 2015 are considerable as what used to be but the impact on the health system is still to be felt. The integration of mental healthcare in primary healthcare taking into account universal health coverage and integrated people centred healthcare services framework is still far away.

However, the role played by associations, NGOs and online communities of practice (such as the GRID, Psy du Kamer, UNIPSY all on whatsapp and Facebook) involved in mental health and clinical psychology has provided a powerful momentum for the mental health movement which can be traced back to the creation of the department of psychology in the University of Yaoundé I in the 90’s. In fact, since 2015 the mobilisation of mental health associations and health organisations (such as “UNIPSY et bien-etre”, ACAM-PSM, Soins Psy sans frontier, and HIFA) has had a considerable positive influence on the mental health sector especially in terms of increased awareness raising, increase in crisis intervention mobilisation and advocacy. Three events marked by the systematic involvement of associations merit to be highlighted and implications for Cameroon’s mental health sector could be derived.

From the 9th to the 10th of May 2016 in Douala was held the first ever International Forum for the Promotion of Psychiatric and Psychological care organised by Healthcare Information For All (HIFA), late Association of Cameroonian clinical psychologist, Soins Psy sans frontier, UNIPSY et Bien-etre, Association Yam-Mars Psy, and DIAP under the aegis of the Ministry Of Public Health. This forum gathered mental health professionals from Cameroon, France, Swiss, and Gabon to reflect on the practice of mental healthcare in Cameroon. It stemmed from the forum which was on the one hand a scientific encounter and on the other hand an exchange platform between professionals with the sub direction of the promotion of mental health and psychiatry of the Ministry of Public Health that a lot still has to be done to enable mental health to be a priority in Cameroon. In fact, no mental health promotion and mental health education strategy and plan was discussed and made so as any attempt to develop strategies and plans to integrate mental healthcare in primary health care. Even if the training and recruitment of mental health professionals to increase the mental health workforce was discussed, no concrete strategy was put forward to solve the problem of the drastic low number of mental health professionals. Human resource in mental health is one aspect of mental healthcare affecting seriously service delivery in Cameroon not to talk of quality service delivery. Nevertheless, efforts by the Ministry of Public health mental health’s department became visible when two trainings to reduce the gap of mental health care provision by building the capacities of non-mental health professionals on basic mental healthcare principles following the mhGAP 2013-2020 WHO’s framework was done .

In fact, capacity building workshop on the management of psycho-traumas, by Mercy ships and Tributaries international trainers to religious leaders, health and mental health professionals  was done in Douala (from 25th to 29th April 2016)  and Yaoundé (from 2th to 6th May 2016). The role that religion plays in the life of Cameroonians is important and involving faith based organisations (FBO) to promote mental health was an important thing to be done.

On the 21st of October 2016 a train derailment occurred in Eseka in the Centre region of Cameroon killing 79 people from official sources and leaving several hundred wounded. This crisis situation in itself unique in the history of accidents in Cameroon as what concerns the violence and destruction that occurred, immediately led to the mobilisation of mental health professionals by the MoH’s mental health department to provide support and mental healthcare to the affected community, to families and victims. For about a month following the accident several mental health professionals worked voluntarily in very difficult conditions to support and bring mental healthcare to families and victims of the accident. Most of the human resources for this work came from associations such as “UNIPSY et Bien-etre” which provided volunteers at all stages of the crisis intervention process. Unfortunately lack of coordination and support from the government halted the efforts.

Political will to make mental health part of Cameroon’s healthcare practices is enshrined in its 1996 constitution (art.16). More concretely, 20 years later on the 26th of October 2016, the Minister of Public Health Andre Mama Fouda validated a series of very important documents laying foundation for Cameroon’s mental health system namely; mental health policies and programmes, guidelines procedure on treatment of some mental health disorders. This other historical step in Cameroon’s mental health development gave a lot of joy to the several Cameroonian mental health professionals who have been battling and struggling for years to gain a more formal support and recognition by government. In spites of this leap a lot still needs to be done. Paramount is financing mental health, integrating mental healthcare in primary healthcare and training adequately and recruiting mental health professionals in all public healthcare services (especially clinical psychologist, counsellors, and occupational therapist).

As time goes by it is becoming clearer that the role of associations and NGOs involved in mental health, support of persons living with a mental health condition and their families will have a considerable impact  in developing and constructing the mental healthcare sector. It implies therefore that government needs to support systematically the efforts of associations in areas of training and capacity building, financial motivation of mental health professionals volunteering and their supervision is also very important. Many of the mental health professionals who volunteered and worked during the Eseka railway accident were not adequately prepared to meet up the extreme challenges they experienced, they received no form of incentive for the work they did and they were not supervised at the end of their interventions. This state of things is a reflection of the state of the mental health system. The human resources in mental health in Cameroon are extremely insufficient to meet-up with the growing demands. The need to maintain these frontline mental health human resources is vital if the efforts which started in 2015 should be maintained. One strong way to do this is to integrate mental health in all policies, mental health advocacy and promote school mental health. There is a mental health component to every human endeavour and an effort to make this known in Cameroon is the struggle of a few frontline mental health associations. There is no health without mental health, no mental health development without community based actions driven by associations and communities of practices (CoP) involved in mental health in Cameroon. Supporting these associations is a sustainable way to achieve mental healthcare for all in Cameroon

Didier Demassosso
Mental Health Specialist

update1 update2 update3

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