World Mental Health Day: 20 highlights for 2020

The 10th October marks this year’s World Mental Health Day – and what a year it has been. Challenges faced due to the upheaval of ‘normality’ from the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted more than ever to the world, the importance of mental health and wellbeing globally, as mental ill health has become increasingly more prevalent and widespread during this time. It is as relevant as ever. In some ways, the pandemic has helped raise further awareness of mental health conditions and has led to advocacy groups and mental health stakeholders pushing more fiercely the work towards this year’s theme of greater investment and greater access to everyone, everywhere. The aim being to make mental health care a reality worldwide.

Here are 20 resources collated to commemorate World Mental Health Day 2020.


  1. COLLABORATION: Mental Health & COVID-19

MHIN and the World Health Organization Department of Mental Health and Substance Use collaborated to highlight the incredible efforts of individuals and organisations providing mental health and psychosocial support during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Stories from the field" is a blog series sharing innovation and best practice through personal accounts from health care and health systems workers around the world.

Each section within the Collaborations page combines stories with key resources for health care systems as a whole as well as for different population groups. These resources have also been kindly translated into French by Lisa Aissaoui, an MSc student from the MSc in Global Mental Health at LSHTM and KCL.

We have also been co-hosting a series of weekly webinars launched by The Lancet Psychiatry, Mental Health Innovation Network, and United for Global Mental Health designed to provide policy makers and the wider health community with the latest evidence on the impact of COVID-19 on mental health and how to address it. The webinars provide practical solutions to the challenging issues we are all grappling with. Participants are encouraged to join from around the world, including those with lived experience of mental health and of COVID-19.

There are also these insightful video interviews where innovators share challenges, activities and recommendations of new ways or working and delivering mental health care and services during COVID-19:

  1. POLICY BRIEF: Stories from the field: Providing mental health and psychosocial support during the COVID-19 pandemic

This policy brief summarises lessons and experiences of frontline workers providing mental health care in their countries and communities during the pandemic. Recommendations are targeted towards policy makers and health systems to ensure the continuity of mental health services.

  1. INNOVATION: Pursukoon Zindagi “Peaceful Life” COVID-19 Mental Health Response

This new innovation provides integrated mental health and COVID-19 support to patients, health care providers and people experiencing distress during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  1. BLOG: Together in Spirit. A video to support social distancing among young people in the UK

Looking to support young people in the UK through their experience of social distancing, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine researchers partnered with Brickwall, a London-based creative agency, to create Together in Spirit, a short video featuring young people from around the UK.

  1. BLOG: Innovation during COVID-19: Applying global mental health lessons from humanitarian settings in the global south to high resource settings


We are constantly adapting to meet the needs of this dynamic, fast-growing community of innovators. Increasingly, this means working with external partners to develop communities of practice and produce bespoke resources and communications on issues of strategic importance in the field.

The Collaborations section of the MHIN website provides a home on the website for these partnerships and their outputs and we have been working incredibly hard on finalising work with external partners during 2020 in order to continue to dedicate online space to these initiatives, all of which can be found on our Collaborations Page.

  1. COLLABORATION: Mental Health Learning Journey

This Learning Journey was led by MHIN in collaboration with K4D, for the UK Department for International Development (DFID). The overall purpose of this Learning Journey was to help equip development professionals to respond to the inclusion of mental health in the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, within their own programmes and within the sector more broadly, by cultivating an active community of practice and building new networks with key partners in the UK and other countries.

Resources include DFID's Position Paper and Theory of Change on mental health and psychosocial disabilities, which was launched in August 2020 after the conclusion of the Learning Journey and reflects the organisation's internal discussions on mental health as well as extensive external consultation with civil society, particularly the Bond Mental Health Sub-Group along with the launch webinar and excellent Topic Guide for Development Professionals interested in learning about the basics of mental health and key issues.

  1. COLLABORATION: Toolkit for low-intensity interventions

As part of a collaboration with researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, we have created this toolkit drawing together key content on adult low-intensity interventions for low- and middle-income countries affected by humanitarian crises. This toolkit includes a systematic review on lay-delivered talking therapies for crisis-affected populations in low- and middle-income countries. Innovations that deliver low-intensity psychological interventions to crisis-affected populations in low- and middle-income countries and resources including reviews and research summaries relevant to the delivery of psychological interventions in humanitarian settings.


This Collaborations page supports the development of an online space dedicated to knowledge exchange and information management working within the mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) space with a specific focus on children and families promoted via the Mental Health Innovation Network.

  1. COLLABORATION: MHIN Latin America and the Caribbean

This regional hub is now 2,000 members strong and growing and includes a dedicated team in the region promoting and disseminating evidence and implementation of mental health programs to promote uptake in research, policies and practices in Latin America and the Caribbean as well as providing support to mental health innovators and encourage bi-directional learning and networking of groups in the promotion of mental health.

Keep an eye out for their regional World Mental Health Day activities and follow them on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to show your support!

  1. EMBER

Ember is a collaboration between the SHM Foundation and the Mental Health Innovation Network. Ember provides mentorship and funding to excellent mental health initiatives in low-resources settings and believes the solution to the global mental health crisis lies in supporting a diverse ecosystem of care that grows from within communities.

This year Ember has been incredibly busy working with 12 fantastic innovators who are diverse in terms of geography, method and approach. The COVID pandemic has created testing times for all, including these projects we are working with and each has had to think quickly, adapt and overcome challenges due to COVID. Each has had a unique journey and these have been shared through the COVID-19 Stories of Change series.


Here you will find a list of our top 5 resources on MHIN to tie into this year’s theme of greater financial investment for mental health.

  1. CALL TO ACTION! A call to action for evidence-based mental health campaigning
  2. POLICY BRIEF: Mental Health for Global Prosperity
  3. SPEAK YOUR MIND REPORT: The Return on the Individual: A Visionary New Approach to Mental Health Investment
  4. BLOG/CONFERENCE: Mental Health in Africa: Innovation and Investment
  5. POLICY BRIEF: Young People Will Transform Global Mental Health


  1. Devex and Global Mental Health Action Network: Delivering mental health care for all: Why investment now is crucial event [6 Oct]
  2. Human Rights Watch: Anti-shackling Campaign launch [6th Oct]
  3. Speak Your Mind: "March for Mental Health" [9-10th Oct] #MarchforMH
  4. World Health Organization: "The big event for Mental Health" [10th Oct]
  5. NAMI NYC and GMHPN: In Our Own Voice Presentation [10 Oct]

[Since its launch in 2014, the Mental Health Innovation Network (MHIN) website has become the leading knowledge management platform for the field of global mental health, bringing innovators together to share tools, ideas and experiences online. In 2020 we were incredibly proud to reach 8,000 members strong and we thank all of those working to deliver better mental health across the globe.]

Middle East
North America
Central America and the Caribbean
South America
Children and adolescents
Families and carers
Minority populations
Humanitarian and conflict health
Primary care
All disorders
How useful did you find this content?: 
Your rating: None
No votes yet


More than happy to be a part of MHIN family. Excited for this years Mental health day.

More than happy to be a part of MHIN family. Excited for this years Mental health day.
Log in or become a member to contribute to the discussion.