The Movement emerged from a 2007 Lancet series on global mental health, which concluded with a Call for Action. The Call promoted scaling up treatments for mental disorders, protecting the human rights of those affected, and increasing research in low- and middle-income countries.
The Movement has organized four Global Mental Health Summits. The first MGMH summit was held in Athens, Greece in September 2009, the second one in Cape Town, South Africa in October 2011, the third in Bangkok, Thailand in August 2013 and the fourth in Mumbai, India in November, 2015. The Movement has also followed up on the original call by publishing research on global mental health in a second 2011 Lancet series.