Dear Friends and Colleagues,
I hope that all of you managed to get some rest over the holiday period.
Since my last letter to you it has been a relatively quiet period coming up to the holidays. However the Economist hosted a one day meeting on the cost of depression which was led by Kofi Annan. I presented at the DGPPN meeting in Berlin which was another extremely successful meeting.
In December 2014, the WPA had a very successful regional meeting in Hong Kong which was hosted by the Hong Kong College of Psychiatrists and we are grateful to their then President Professor Linda Lam and team of staff for pulling out all the stops and making it an extremely stimulating meeting.
Before the recent WPA Regional meeting in Hong Kong, I had the opportunity of meeting the Secretary for Health as well as Secretary for Social care to discuss what changes are needed to improve services in Hong Kong. In the recent Indian Psychiatric Society annual meeting some of the most exciting research and work that is going on in India and in the region was presented. These observations illustrate that there is an opportunity where we should be learning from each other about what is the best practice for our patients.
In the recent weeks I have had meetings with the UK Minister for mental health and social care and the Deputy Prime Minister and certainly in the UK politicians of all parties are taking mental health very seriously and setting up targets for zero suicide and developing child and adolescent services. If you need any further information please do let me know.
Preparations are underway for the International conference of the WPA in Bucharest in June and also a regional meeting in Osaka in June and I very much hope that you will join us to share ideas and lessons for both research and clinical practice.
I am keen to hear from our members and societies about what the added value of the WPA is. To this end I have requested Dr. Mukesh Haikerwal from Australia (past chair of the council of the World Medical Association) and Professor Paul Summergrad (President of the American Psychiatric Association) from the USA to look at the role of the WPA and whether it is ‘fit for purpose’ in the first half of the 21st century. No doubt they will be contacting you and your members to seek your opinions and advice.
You would have received the request for writing to your ministers for including mental health as part of the Sustainable Development Goals and if you have please do let me know. However if you have not been able to do so far, please do.
Meanwhile please feel free to contact me.
Dinesh Bhugra CBE MA.MSc, MBBS, FRCP, FRCPE, FRCPsych, FFPH, MPhil, PhD
President, World Psychiatric Association