Mental Health for Sustainable Development: The joint All-Party Parlimentary Report launched

This blog discusses the new Mental Health report which was published by the Global Health and Mental Health All-Party Parliamentary groups, prepared by Mary De Silva and Jonty Roland on the joint groups behalf. The full report can be accessed here: Mental Health for Sustainable Development

The origins of the APPG Mental Health report

It is a widely acknowledged fact that mental illnesses cause more disability than any other health condition; bring enormous pain and suffering to individuals and their families and communities; and can lead to early death human rights abuses and damages to the economy. Yet, mental health is generally given a very low priority, if not neglected totally, in both national and international policy. 

The joint APPG Mental Health report is the culmination of several months work by members of the All Parliamentary Groups on Global Health and Mental Health, instigated by Lord Nigel Crisp, former Chief Executive of the National Health Services, after the publication of the World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH) report on mental health in December 2013. Six months later, two oral evidence sessions highlighted the need for action, pointing to increasing international attention and a growing evidence base for cost-effective interventions to improve the lives of people living with mental health problems in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) around the world.

This report has been issued to advise UK policy on global mental health, incorporating the written and oral evidence submitted and  evidence from further consultations with experts in the UK and abroad.

The facts

The infographic to the right highlights the main facts justifying the need for increased support for mental health globally. It puts forward the health, socio-economic and human rights arguments for why development activity will not be truly successful without tackling mental health issues.

The scale of the problem is better understood than ever and it is becoming increasingly apparent that successful development will not take place without addressing mental health. 

Fortunately, a growing body of research is showing that cost effective solutions to the global challenge exist, with the report providing practical examples of several identified approaches, many of which hold lessons for highly developed health systems as well. 

Many of the innovations listed on the Mental Health Innovation Network were highlighted as great examples of solutions, and the Canadian Government were praised for being world-leaders in funding the development of innovations in global mental health through their Grand Challenges Canada Global Mental Health Scheme .


The report makes four clear recommendations:

1.  The department of International Development (DFID) to 'integrate', 'evaluate' and 'replicate' global mental health in its programmes in order to support countries to implement the WHO Action Plan

2. NGOs and working in international development should support staff to understand the needs and capacities of people with mental health problems, encourage the inclusion of people with mental disorders in their general development programmes, set up new mental health specific programmes, and measure the impact of their programmes on mental health

3. Professional bodies and mental health providers, with the support of government, should establish and expand training and research partnerships with low and middle income countries- seeking to teach and to learn about professional skills, tackling discrimination and policy reform

4. The UK should lobby for the inclusion of the following mental health target within the Health Goal in the Sustainable Development Goals:

"The provision of mental and physical health and social care services for people with mental disorders, in parity with resources for services addressing physical health and working towards universal coverage'

Report Launch

The event was hosted by Lord Nigel Crisp and Meg Hillier, MP, co-chairs of the APPG group on Global Health, and James Morris, MP, chair of the APPG  on Mental Health. Present were invited guests working within UK and global mental health research, policy and practice.The report was officially launched on November 26th at the Houses of Parliament. 

Lord Crisp gave an introduction to the report, which was followed by a brief presentation made by Graham Thornicroft, Kings College London, who showed a short video produced by the FundaMentalSDG campaign to highlight why this report and the support of the UK government to global mental health is so important. He urged the NGO sector to get involved in mental health, as almost none of the major NGOs working in global health currently address mental health.


The final speaker was Jane Edmondson, Department of International Development (DFID), who, acknowledging that they are at the receiving end of many of the reports recommendations, pledged they would 'carry on making a big investment into projects' that build the evidence base and show results.   

Next Steps

The UK government can be a powerful leader in strengthening global mental health, through its own programs (DFID) and their relationship with other international bodies. It is hoped that in the coming weeks and months, all key decision-makers within the UK government will engage with the report and work to support the implementation of its recommendations.

Mental illnesses are killer diseases. They need to take their place among the other killer diseases for investment and priority

-Graham Thornicroft, Professor of Community Psychiatry, speaking at the launch of the report

We are in a very exciting moment of change with the negotiations on the forthcoming Sustainable Development Goals currently underway. Mental health was unjustly omitted from the Millennium Development Goals. It is hoped that this report, along with public pledges of support from world leaders such as Kofi Annan, and the advocacy campaign FundaMentalSDG, will support this opportunity to get mental health on the global agenda. 

Related resources

Two blogs summarising the oral evidence sessions can be found here: 

Have Your Say on the Treatment Gap in Global Mental Health

A United Front for Global Mental Health

The full report can be accessed here: APPG Mental Health for Sustainable Development

An infographic of the reports main messages: APPG Mental Health report:The Facts

Policy and legislation
Empowerment and service user involvement
All disorders
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