Track 7. Mental health and health promotion

Track 7 Programme

Click here to download a pdf of the Track 7 preliminary programme. **updated 24.9.21
You may also scroll through the programme online in the box below.

Track 7: During this track, conference participants will present and discuss topics with relevance to mental health, addiction and health promotion. We will engage in multidisciplinary discussions and include joint challenges and interconnection between the topic areas. Basic clinical, qualitative, and quantitative research, implementation science and research with relevance for the lifespan is encouraged.

Responsible: Ragnhild Dybdahl, Lars Lien, Wenche Dageid

Track 7 - Joint Keynote with track 6 - Day 1 (28 Sept) 11:00

Name: Pia Britto
Institution: UNICEF Lao PDR
Speciality: developmental psychology and early childhood development

Date: 28.09.21
Time: 11:00-11:50

Title: Nurturing care

Short bio
Britto has extensive experience in international development and early childhood development policy and programmes. She has conducted research into research was understanding governance and finance of social sector systems that deliver services for young children and families in Lao PDR. Learn more from her UNICEF Lao PDR web page.

Twitter: @PiaBritto

Track 7 - Joint Keynote with track 1 - Day 1 (28 Sept) 15:00

Name: Peter Ventevogel, M.D., Ph.D.,
Institution: UNHCR – The UN Refugee Agency
Speciality: Mental health in humanitarian settings

Date: 28.09.21
Time: 15:00-15:50

Title: Addressing the mental health of refugees in low- and middle-income settings

Short bio

Ventevogel is a psychiatrist and a medical anthropologist. Since 2013 he is the Senior Mental Health Officer with UNHCR, the refugee agency of the United Nations. In this role he is responsible for technical guidance and support to the country operations of UNHCR worldwide. Previously, he was editor-in-chief of ‘Intervention, Journal for Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Conflict Affected Areas’ and worked with NGOs in Afghanistan, Burundi and the Netherlands. In 2016, he defended his doctoral dissertation ‘Borderlands of mental health: Explorations in medical anthropology, psychiatric epidemiology and health systems research in Afghanistan and Burundi’.

Twitter: @VentevogelPeter

Track 7 - Keynote  - Day 2 (29 Sept) 10:00
WHOs Special Initiative for Mental Health:
Strengthening mental health systems to improve access and support sustainable change

The impact of mental, neurological and substance use (MNS) conditions on the global population is nowadays well known. MNS conditions make up 10% of the global burden of disease and 30% of non-fatal disease burden. Depression alone affects over 264 million people worldwide. Nonetheless, support for mental health languishes behind most other health concerns, including where it influences communicable and non-communicable diseases, including neglected tropic diseases (NTDs).  In low-middle income countries, more than 75% of people living with MNS conditions receive no treatment at all.  To accelerate access to and treatment coverage for mental health, WHOs Director General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has endorsed the WHO Special Initiative for Mental Health: Universal Health Coverage for Mental Health.  This initiative aims to provide access to mental health care for 100  million more people in at least 12 countries.  Uniquely, the WHO Special Initiative for Mental Health will work for at least 5-years, hand-in-hand with ministries of health, across all levels of healthcare, taking research learnings, innovations and evidence to pave the way for establishing a mental health systems strengthening approach towards sustainable change.  This presentation will (i) describe the foundational thinking for WHOs Special Initiative for Mental Health; (ii) discuss common learnings to date from seven implementing countries (Bangladesh, Jordan, Nepal, Paraguay, the Philippines, Ukraine, Zimbabwe); (iii) consider opportunities for integration with communicable/non-communicable diseases, NTDs and social determinants of health; and (iv) outline some challenges still being faced by the initiative, for which new solutions are being sought.  


Name: Alison Schafer
Institution: WHO - Department of Mental Health and Substance Use
Speciality: Mental Health

Date: 29 Sept.
Time: 10:00-10:50

Title: WHOs Special Initiative for Mental Health: Strengthening mental health systems to improve access and support sustainable change

Short bio
Trained in clinical psychology, Alison Schafer currently works in WHO’s Department of Mental Health and Substance Use, leading implementation of the WHO Special Initiative for Mental Health. She is based in Erbil, Iraq. Schafer previously coordinated development of a WHO online platform (“EQUIP”) to assess the competency of mental health service providers.  Before joining WHO, Alison worked for World Vision Australia/ International’s Humanitarian and Emergency Affairs teams.  As a global Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) specialist, her country experience includes Iraq, Sierra Leone’s Ebola crisis, the protracted Syria conflict, the occupied Palestinian territories of West Bank and Gaza, Haiti, Sri Lanka, Darfur, Kenya, Uganda, South Sudan, Ethiopia, amongst others.  Over these years, Alison has led multiple initiatives and publications.

Track 7 - Keynote - Day 2 (29 Sept) 17:00

Name: Vikram Patel
Institution: Harward Medical School
Speciality: Mental Health

Date: 29.09.21
Time: 17:00-17:50

Title: Transforming mental health globall

Short bio
Patel is The Pershing Square Professor of Global Health and Wellcome Trust Principal Research Fellow at the Harvard Medical School. He co-leads the GlobalMentalHealth@Harvard initiative. His work has focused on the burden of mental health problems, their association with social disadvantage, and the use of community resources for their prevention and treatment. He is a co-founder of the Movement for Global Mental Health, the Centre for Global Mental Health (at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine), the Mental Health Innovations Network, and Sangath, an Indian NGO which won the WHO Public Health Champion of India prize. He is a Fellow of the UK's Academy of Medical Sciences and has served on the Committee which drafted India’s first National Mental Health Policy and the WHO High Level Independent Commission for NCDs. He has been awarded the Chalmers Medal, the Sarnat Prize, the Pardes Humanitarian Prize, an Honorary OBE and the John Dirk Canada Gairdner Award in Global Health. He was listed in TIME Magazine’s 100 most influential persons of the year in 2015. Learn more.