Advisory Group

A voluntary Advisory Group oversees the Movement’s activities and is responsible for its strategic direction. This Group was initially formed for the 2007 Lancet series on global mental health, and membership on the Advisory Group changes over time.

Following are the introductions to  the current Advisory Group which was updated in August 2014 . The present advisory group’s tenure is August 2014 to February 2017.

1.     Ratnaboli  Ray - Ratnaboli, ASHOKA fellow, is a leading mental health rights activist of India. She is a trained psychologist who is working to transform India’s state mental health institutions, which are little more than holding cells, into centers of modern, high-quality professionals care. She advocates for the community care and treatment.


2.     Vandana Gopikumar - Vandana, ASHOKA fellow, and a psychiatric social worker by training, is deeply committed to inquiries around marginality, inequity, distress, recovery and resilience. She has lived and worked with poor and homeless persons, with mental health concerns. The wisdom derived from those experiences, helped The Banyan, an NGO she co- founded, develop comprehensive treatment, care and rehabilitation strategies for vulnerable communities.


3.     Alex Cohen - Alex is an anthropologist with interests in models of community mental health services and sociocultural and environmental influences on the mental health of populations. He is a senior lecturer at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. He also coordinates the MSc in Global Mental Health program at the school.


4.      Niall Boyce - Niall is the Editor of The Lancet Psychiatry. He was trained in medicine at Oxford University and subsequently on the University College London psychiatry rotation. Niall is a member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists. His research interests include suicide research, trauma, old age psychiatry, and social and transcultural aspects of mental health.


5.     Charlene Sunkel – Charlene is a leading South African voice for the rights of people with mental health problems. She works for the South African Federation for Mental Health as Program Manager for advocacy and Development. She is the author of a new book “Empowerment and Partnership in Mental Health-Discovering their voice”.


6.    Sandra Fortes - Sandra is an Associate Professor of Medical Psychology and Mental Health in the School of Medical Sciences of the University of State of Rio de Janeiro, and a Psychiatrist of the Brazilian Ministry of Health, acting in the Mental Health in Primary Care Collaborative Care Program for the National Health System in Brazil. She is also the coordinator of LIPAPS – Laboratory for Interdisciplinary Research in Primary Care /UERJ.


7.      Karlee Silver - Karlee is the Vice President of Targeted Challenges for Grand Challenges Canada. She leads the Saving Lives at Birth, Saving Brains and Global Mental Health programs. Karlee is a member of the Knowledge Exchange Working Group for the Canadian Network for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health. She received her doctorate in 2006 from the University of Oxford.


8.     Graham Thornicroft - Graham is Professor of Community Psychiatry at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London, and was Head of the Health Service and Population Research Department. Since 2010, Graham has been Director of the King’s Improvement Science, King’s Health Partners, and Chair for Maudsley International. His name is synonymous to stigma research across the world.


9.    Vikram Patel - Vikram is Professor of International Mental Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM). He is also join director of the Centre for Global Mental Health, a partnership of the LSHTM with Kings Health Partners. Vikram played a lead role in setting up the Movement for Global Mental Health. His book “Where There Is No Psychiatrist”, a mental health care manual for non-specialist health workers, has been widely used in developing countries.


10.   Ritsuko (Ritz) Kakuma - Ritz is a Senior Research Fellow at the Global and Cultural Mental Health Unit, Centre for International Mental Health, Melbourne School of population and Global Health, The University of Melbourne. Her research is primarily based in low and middle income settings and include mental health policy and system, human resources for mental health, mental health stigma and discrimination, knowledge translation, and health research capacity development.


11.   Lawrence Goldberg - Lawrence is an American psychiatrist with over 30 years’ experience, mainly working in psychiatric hospitals as well as in community outpatient clinics. He had taught in a state medical school for many years, and eventually became more of a hospital administrator than an actual practitioner. In recent years he has worked for a private health insurance company, where he is focused on both the quality and cost-effectiveness of care rendered to a large insured population.


12.  Graciela Rojas - Professor Graciela is a surgeon, a specialist in psychiatry and mental health at the University of Chile. She has served on various ministerial committees on the issues of mental health, primary health care, women health and more. She has also played an instrumental role to start nationwide program particularly in the treatment of depressive disorders through primary care.


13.  Kathryn Goetzke - Kathryn, an entrepreneur and innovator behind Mood-lites TM, is the founder of a non-profit organization for depression called iFred (the International Foundation for Research and Education on Depression). Kathryn lost her father to suicide at 19, and is a depression survivor herself. She is a leading voice on the campaigning to rebrand the image of depression around the world. Her work has been showcased in Entrepreneur Magazine, Home, Chicago Tribune, BBC, CBS, Chicago, InStyle, and more.


14.  Julian Eaton- Julian ,a British psychiatrist, is mental health advisor for CBM International, based in West Africa. CBM is a broad disability and development organisation, and seeks to apply the same principles of inclusion, empowerment, access to quality services, and taking a human rights approach, to their work in mental health.  His task is to support partners working in community mental health, including community based rehabilitation and some specialist psychosocial health services. Julian also supports governments to improve their policies and in the implementation of those policies.


15.   Gary S Belkin - Gary is the Executive Deputy Commissioner of Health for Mental Hygiene in the New York City Department of Health.  He is also Editor in Chief of the open access journal Global Mental Health, and is an Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry at New York University School of Medicine. Gary’s career has involved progressive responsibility in policy and systems development for public health and mental health services in US urban settings.


16.    Pamela Y Collins - Pamela is the Associate Director for Special Populations at the US National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), where she directs the Office for Research on Disparities and Global Mental Health and the Office of Rural Mental Health Research. She will serve as a federal liaison to the advisory group. Pamela develops strategies for investing in research relevant to mental health disparities reduction in the US and globally.


17.   Akhileshwar Sahay- Akhileshwar is a leading and successful management consultant of India who identifies himself as a person labeled as one suffering from clinical depression and schizophrenia before getting the final label of Manic Depression. He has also founded a not-for-profit organization called “Whole Mind India” where he serves as the Principal Instigator and Managing Trustee.


18.   Durgadas Menon – Durgadas works as a cross-country Research Associate and Communication Officer for the Emerald project based in Public Health Foundation of India. He has undertaken the responsibility of the Secretariat Officer for the MGMH since the global secretariat of the MGMH moved to the Public Health Foundation of India in 2014 February.


19.   Jagannath Lamichhane - Jagannath is the Principal Co-ordinator of the Movement for Global Mental Health, and Founder of the Nepal Mental Health Foundation. Jagannath is a human rights activist based in Kathmandu, Nepal.  


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 ( 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