The WPA is an association of national psychiatric societies aimed to increase knowledge and skills necessary for work in the field of mental health and the care for the mentally ill. Its member societies are presently 138, spanning 118 different countries and representing more than 200,000 psychiatrists.
The WPA organizes the World Congress of Psychiatry every three years. It also organizes international and regional congresses and meetings, and thematic conferences. It has 72 scientific sections, aimed to disseminate information and promote collaborative work in specific domains of psychiatry. It has produced several educational programmes and series of books. It has developed ethical guidelines for psychiatric practice, including the Madrid Declaration (1996).