South Africa

Press Release:

5th Global Mental Health Summit to be hosted in South Africa

The Movement for Global Mental Health (MGMH) and the SA Federation for Mental Health (SAFMH) as the Secretariat of the MGMH, will be hosting the 5th Global Mental Health Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa from 8-9 February 2018 at the University of Witwatersrand, Medical Campus in Parktown.

Since the establishment of the MGMH, a biennial Summit had been hosted - the first in Athens in 2009, the second in Cape Town in 2011, the third in Bangkok in 2013 and the 4th in Mumbai in 2015. 

The theme of the 5th Global Mental Health Summit is “Leaving no one behind” as per the aspirations of the Sustainable Development Goals. The Summit will bring in a strong element that focus on the empowerment and human rights of persons with psychosocial and intellectual disabilities, globally.

The Summit panel discussions will revolve around the following topics:

* Persons with Lived Experience – the key partners in mental health and sustainable development

* Value of research to advance the social movement – the role of persons with lived experience in research

* Overcoming poverty through quality education and decent work and economic growth

* Changing the culture around mental health, mental disorders and emotional wellbeing

* Getting “creative and innovative” to achieve recovery and mental wellbeing

* Infants, toddlers and young children - affording them mental health and wellbeing

* Empowering the youth to play a role in achieving the SDGs

* Not forgetting the vulnerable groups

* Deinstitutionalisation and community integration – a human right

* Civil society's role in achieving the SDGs

* Social movements giving a voice to persons with psychosocial and intellectual disabilities

* Transforming cities

International experts, well-regarded professionals in the field and international representatives will share their knowledge and experience and engage the audience in discussions to ultimately find ways in which mental health globally can address the current gaps in services, provide services and interventions that are evidence-based and respect and protect the rights of persons affected by mental health related conditions and disabilities, and ensure that no one is left behind.

An exciting activity that will take place at the Summit is the official launch of the Global Mental Health Peer Network (GMHPN), a mental health care user organisation that will facilitate the establishment of a global network of persons with psychosocial and intellectual disabilities and the advocacy groups representing them. Mental health user movements and groups exist in many countries and functioning at various levels, some may struggle to exist, or may not exist at all. A global network may provide an opportunity to strengthen the ones that exist and assist the development where such movements or groups are lacking. At a global level, there’s a lack of collaboration amongst user movements and a global network could form a stronger and united voice in mental health through addressing human rights violations and issues that affecting persons with psychosocial and intellectual disabilities together. Such a network could also provide a platform for support, sharing of experiences and good practice, and linking up with relevant resources and potential partners. This will tie in with the MGMH’s Principal Coordinator’s vision to strengthen the voice of persons with psychosocial and intellectual disabilities globally. At the same time, the GMHPN will further provide for an ideal platform for persons with psychosocial and intellectual disabilities to be key partners in mental health and have a direct link to researchers, policy makers, and professionals in the field of mental health and human rights, and governments in the upscaling of mental health care and services.

The MGMH ( and SAFMH ( wish to invite all who are interested in mental health and upscaling services through guidance of evidence, innovation, good practice and human rights. The deadline for registrations is 15 December 2017 – email:

16 Oct 2017  - 20 Oct 2017

The upcoming MRC/ESRC/SAMRC workshop will be an opportunity for UK researchers to meet researchers from South African institutions and explore opportunities for research collaboration. The agenda for the workshop will include time for networking and sharing information about UK and South African research expertise and areas of interest.

USAID’s YouthPower Learning generates and disseminates knowledge about the implementation and impact of positive youth development (PYD) and cross sectoral approaches in international youth development ( Positive youth development (PYD) is an approach that aims to build and support the competencies, skills, and abilities of youth so that they are empowered to reach their full potential. We have recently published a systematic review on positive youth development programs in low and middle income countries ( and a PYD Measurement Toolkit (


We will be conducting a PYD Measurement Training in Johannesburg on Thursday, June 22 at Gender Links Cottage and I wanted invite individuals from your organization to attend. YouthPower Learning will discuss strategies to strengthen the design and effectiveness of youth-focused programs. We will also share an overview of the PYD Measurement Toolkit, which provides a variety of indicators, resources, tools, and references to monitor and evaluate a PYD approach.


If interested, please register for the event and lunch will be provided:

Since the establishment of the MGMH, a biannual Summit had been hosted - the first in Athens in 2009, the second in Cape Town in 2011, the third in Bangkok in 2013 and the 4th in Mumbai in 2015. The 5th Summit is planned to be hosted in Johannesburg, South Africa in from 8-9 February 2018.

The Global Mental Health Summit is a biennial conclave of people from across the globe who are passionate about mental health, who come together to share experiences and innovations, discuss the needs and upscaling of mental health services, identify opportunities to overcome challenges that impact on the lives and human rights of persons with psychosocial and intellectual disabilities. The ultimate aim of the Summit is to set service intervention and policy targets deriving from the agenda topics.

The focus of the 5th Global Mental Health Summit, themed “Leaving No One Behind” as per the aspiration of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), aligns the Summit agenda with the SDGs and emphasize that mental health forms a vital component in achieving the SDGs. The aim further is to bring to the forefront the voices of persons with psychosocial and intellectual disabilities and establish their role as a key partner in mental health but also in achieving the goals set out in the SDGs.

Together we can make a difference!

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