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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness

The Great Push for Mental Health

Update from Professor John Copeland, Chairman, WFMH Great Push for Mental Health in strategic alliance with the Movement for Global Mental Health

WFMH Great Push for Mental Health in strategic alliance with the Movement for Global Mental HealthYou may remember that the World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH) “Great Push” programme, in alliance with the Movement for Global Mental Health, received the advice that if we wanted the support of health ministers to promote mental health internationally, we would first need to demonstrate the strength of support from the international mental health community itself.


Support of up to 500 organisations

As a consequence the “Great Push” gathered the support of up to 500 organisations and many individuals and reported this to meetings which WFMH held in New York attended by five ministers of health before the UN Special Session on Non-Communicable Diseases (2011) at which some of those countries spoke out for mental health at the Assembly and later requested the Secretary General of the UN for a mental health “Action Plan”.

After this exciting development WFMH was able to report to the World Health Assembly in May 2012 that it would survey the organisations on what they would want to see in the WHO Action Plan, and then prepare a People’s Charter for Mental Health.


What the people want

WFMH “Great Push” completed the first round of the survey which was sent to WHO for consideration during the preparation of the Action Plan. WFMH has also formally commented on the draft “Plan”.


We are now preparing the “People’s Charter for Mental Health” in which the survey results will form the major part, as a record of “what the people want”. However, we would like to include a section on “what more could be done by international organisations and agencies to promote mental health”. This is where we would welcome your help. We need to keep up the pressure while deciding the next move.


Keep up the pressure

Below you will see a list of international organisations and agencies. Would you look through them and check whether there are any others which we should have included, if so please list them? Then we would greatly value your views on what more these organisations should do, especially if there are precise steps which you believe that they should take to further mental health. We do not expect you to comment on them all! We are not intending to attribute statements to authors, but to list all those who help us in the “credits” at the end of the Charter. We will need to edit and condense the various replies under each heading.


This is an opportunity to try to put pressure on these agencies. There has been talk of our pressing forward to request a UN General Assembly Special Session on Mental Health and we would welcome your views on this also.

We are pressed for time as we would like to have the Charter finished for the January meeting of the WHO Executive Board at which the WHO Action Plan will be considered, presumably before it is passed to the World Health Assembly in May. WFMH will be able to address both meetings drawing attention to the views of Civil Society. These are exciting developments that many of us did not think we would see in our lifetime. Can you let us have your reply by 31 October 2012. Please email:


Could the following do more?

a)    United Nations

b)    World Health Organisation

c)    Pan American Health Organisation

d)    World Bank

e)    Central Government- all departments not just those health designated

f)    Local Government - all departments not just those health designated

g)    European Union

h)    African Union

i)     The Commonwealth

j)     Donor countries

k)    Donor organisations, international, national and independent grant making trusts

l)     Research establishments

m)  Corporations/businesses (employers)

n)    Trade unions

o)    Humanitarian organisations

p)    Mental health associations

q)    Consumer/user organisations

r)    World Federation for Mental Health

s)    World Psychiatric Association

t)     Universities and educational establishments,

a.    Student health,

b.    Education of Drs, nurses, social workers, occupational therapists and psychologists.

u)    Health and Social Care Training establishments other than universities

v)    Other Qualification Authorities (including management and business courses, occupational health and physiotherapy.

w)   Primary and secondary schools

x)    The Media


Is it your opinion that we should campaign for the United Nations General Assembly Special Session for Mental Health? Yes / No


If ‘no’, could you give a reason?



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