May 2015
Letter from the WPA President (28 May 2015)

Dear Friends,

I would like to take this opportunity to keep you informed of various activities which have been happening since my last communication. We have not had an EC meeting so I have not been able to send the agreed action points to you. We have two EC meetings coming up in fairly rapid succession so you will be receiving that information fairly soon.

In co-operation with Lancet Psychiatry, the WPA has set up a Commission (WPA-Lancet Commission in Psychiatry) to look at the role of Psychiatry and the Psychiatrists in the first quarter of the 21st century. This is a two stage process with first stage being a qualitative survey of our zonal representatives. This will happen in WPA International Congress due to be held in Bucharest from 23rd to 26th June, 2015. Dr Alex Langford is leading on the project and he will be contacting all of you in due course. The second stage of the project will follow the analysis of qualitative findings and a web-based survey will be created. This quantitative survey will be carried out hopefully around September time and the Lancet Psychiatry hopes to publish reports either towards the end of this year or early next year. When the time comes, please circulate the information about the survey to your members so that we can gather information as widely as possible. These responses will enable us to look at what skills and competencies are essential for the practice of psychiatry and that will lead to how we train future psychiatrists. The next step after the report will be looking at curricula and training matters starting from undergraduate medical training to post-graduate generalist training and subsequent specialist training. Early work has started on revising medical school curricula but we need to ensure that the curricula are fit for purpose for all doctors as well as specialists.

Mental Health for Life. For All.

The second major initiative is the launch of the WPA Campaign for Social Justice for the Mentally Ill again in Bucharest. The aim of the campaign is to draw attention of policy makers around the globe to change mental health care policies and to ensure that our patients get the best, most effective and efficacious treatments available. The underlying context remains a strong focus on public mental health as agreed by the General assembly in Madrid, 2014. The campaign will target all stakeholders to ensure that mental health is on every one’s agenda.

We need to shift our focus to outcomes based parity and human rights based equity in resources whether they are for research funding or clinical services. Social inequality causes a differential increase in physical and mental health problems. WPA plans to work with other organisations including the WMA and Wonca to explore what joint actions are needed to advocate for more equality and equity.

Every standing committee now has an Early Career Psychiatrist as an observer. We are looking at further steps for better engagement with residents/trainees/medical students and early career psychiatrists.

For your information following Presidential Task Forces have already been set up:

1. Domestic gender based inter-personal violence :Professors Prabha Chandra and Donna Stewart

2. Child sexual physical and emotional abuse: Dr Gordana Milovic, Professors Bennett Leventhal and Paramjit Joshi

3. Migration/Asylum seekers/Refugee mental health: Dr Meryam Schouler-Ocak and Dr Marianne Kastrup

4. Mental health of LGBT individuals: Professor Petros Levounis and Dr Mary Barber

5. Mental health of persons with intellectual disability: Professor Sabyasachi Bhaumik

6. Mental health promotion activities are being developed by 10 sections of the WPA and co-ordinated by Dr Afzal Javed


Each Task Force will produce curricula at various levels from undergraduate levels to CME learning and policy implications in their area. Please feel free to circulate these details to your members and if your members want to be part of any of these Task Forces or contribute they should contact the chairs directly.

Dr Avdesh Sharma has taken on the lead to develop Public Education materials for both general public and other stakeholders but he is also willing to provide media training for those who are interested in it. He can be contacted through the secretariat. He will also be contacting you directly to explore your needs and work with your organisation.

Professor Mukesh Haikerwal and Professor Paul Summergrad are co-chairing a special Task and Finish Group looking at whether WPA is ‘fit for purpose’ for the 21st century. Again they will be contacting you to explore your thoughts and views regarding various themes.

In my last communication I had sent you a draft letter to be sent to your respective policymakers to push for inclusion of mental health in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). If you have sent the letter please let me know. If for whatever reason you have not been able to do so, please do let me know and I can send it again.

Please feel free to contact me directly with suggestions, comments and issues that you feel are important and the WPA needs to take on board. I look forward to hearing from you.

Dinesh Bhugra, CBE

President, World Psychiatric Association

Click to View Letter from the WPA President 28 May 2015




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