Call for Action

The 2007 Lancet series on global mental health made the following call for action:

"We call for the global health community, governments, donors, multilateral agencies, and other mental health stakeholders, such as professional bodies and consumer groups, to scale up the coverage of services for mental disorders in all countries, but especially in low-income and middle-income countries.

To scale up services for mental disorders we ask that:

  1. Government ministries should identify and scale up a priority package of service interventions or components that can form the backbone of a national mental health system that provides effective interventions and human rights protection.
  2. International donors, multilateral and lending agencies, and governments of high-income countries—especially those that benefit from the so-called brain drain—must place mental health on their priority agenda for health assistance to low-income and middle-income countries, and match this pledge with substantial increases in resource allocation.
  3. Government ministries should place mental health service development on a more secure financial footing:
  • Prepare detailed financial plans that not only assess the existing and projected service needs of their populations but also appraise constraints in human and other resources
  • Increase budget allocations for mental health, and aim to attain a minimum level of investment of US$2 per head in low-income countries and $3–4 in lower middle-income countries
  1. Government and intergovernmental agencies must strengthen their data-collection and monitoring mechanisms, and entrust the task of monitoring and reporting to national or regional committees with intersectoral representation.
  2. National and international stakeholders in health research, such as research councils, donors, and universities, must increase resources for priority research in mental health, build research capacity, and improve the dissemination of findings from such research.” 

Now we need political will and solidarity, above all from the global health community, to translate evidence into action. The time to act is now.


Chisholm D, Flisher AJ, Lund C, et al. Scale up services for mental disorders: a call for action. Lancet. 2007;370(9594):1241-52.

Statement from the Fourth Global Mental Health Summit

Nothing About Us, Without Us - Voices from the Global South

held on 28th-29th November 2015

The Tata Institute of Social Science (TISS), Mumbai hosted the 4th biannual Global Mental Health Summit (GMHS) between 28th and 29th November in collaboration with The Public Health Foundation of India, The Banyan and The Banyan Academy of Leadership in Mental Health (BALM) as a part of the Movement for Global Mental Health (MGMH). The MGMH was founded in 2008 to take forward the neglected agenda of mental health in the world, and has since been working to raise the profile of mental health through the global platform of an interactive website (www.globalmentalhealth.org) and the work of local activists in different countries. 

The biannual summits, held in different parts of the world for the past 4 years have presented an opportunity for multiple stakeholders from the mental health sector to come together, share experiences and learn from one and other.

The focus of this year’s two day Global Health Summit, themed “Nothing About Us, Without Us”, was driven mainly by persons living with mental health issues and disabilities, from different social, cultural and educational ecosystems. The summit was kick started by Prof Asha Banu, TISS who introduced the summit to the audience and put forward the agenda of the summit. Dr Manish Jha, Dean, School of Social Work, TISS extended a hearty welcome to all participants. Prof Vikram Patel, co-director, Centre for Chronic Conditions and Injuries, and adjunct professor at Public Health Foundation of India, India, took the stand next and spoke about the right to care and right to dignity for users of mental health and the need for users, caregivers and mental health professionals to come together and dialogue about the changes needed in the care and services globally. Dr Vikram Gupta, director, BALM addressed the audience and spoke at length about the need to cut across the many barriers faced in the care for mental health users.

Day 1 of the summit saw participation from users, service providers and mental health professionals who shared their experiences not only through dialogue but also using interactive mediums of dance, theatre, poetry and more. The day closed with the screening of the film Astu, which told the story of Mr Shastri, a retired Sanskrit professor who in due course suffers with Alzheimer's and goes missing. The second day of the summit started with a discussion on the film by veteran film and theatre actor Mohan Agashe and continued on to a panel discussion ‘Nothing About Us, Without Us’ moderated by Tasneem Raja and Ketki Ranade where users shared their experiences of living with mental health issues and Mental health policy group member Mr Akhileshwar Sahay spoke about the need to have a single voice regarding mental health in the country in order to exact policy change at the national level. The second day also saw posters being presented by various stakeholders elucidating the many achievements and challenges in the field of mental health.

After a session of academic presentations by mental health researchers and professionals, the day came to a close on a positive note with a short presentation by girls from The Cathedral and John Connon School, Mumbai who shared their experience of launching a school level peer-support group 'Reach Out' for students and adolescents dealing with stress, peer pressure, substance abuse, body image and more. It was followed by screening of the film ‘Come with me’.

The Way Forward:

This summit brought together a large number of users and caregivers who had previously no opportunity to attend or share in a summit of this magnitude. All organizers and participants unanimously agreed that this is only a first step in creating inclusive spaces in the mental health sector, and more such events and networking opportunities need to be organized by different stakeholders. In his valedictory session, Dr S Parasuraman, director, TISS also suggested that many such events should be organized across different regions by multiple stakeholders, in which TISS will be happy to participate. He emphasized the need for documentation of best practices and partnerships between academia and field to expand the human resources for mental health.

The participants were delighted to see new faces talk about mental health which was suggestive of wider participation. All in all the two day summit was a huge success and a truly global initiative that cut across borders and brought various stakeholders together for a common cause and saw involvement from across sectors, with participation from organizations working in sectors such as homelessness, trafficking, disability presented on mental health implications and relevance of mental health for their work.

On behalf of the MGMH: PHFI, The Banyan, The Banyan Academy of Leadership in Mental Health (BALM), & TISS