Ministerial Global Mental Health Summit 2022 – discussing capacity building and skills
This year the Ministerial Global Mental Health Summit took place in Rome, Italy on 13th and 14th October, with the motto of “Skills, rights, care – advancing community-focused approach to mental health”. The central role of a community-focused approach to mental health, and the involvement of people with lived experience and their families in the process of care and recovery, were at the core of the discussions.
One of the workshops, organized by Dan Chisholm, from the Department of Mental Health and Substance Use, World Health Organization, and Frank Bellivier, from the Ministry of Health of France, focused on discussing capacity building and skills.
A diverse panel was invited to discuss two questions: Whose capacities need building? And what skills and competencies are needed?
- David Crepaz-Keay, Mental Health Foundation, UK
- Mariana Pinto da Costa, World Psychiatric Association, UK/Portugal
- Rachel Merlet, ADER Association, French Guyana
- Pragya Shrestha, Transcultural Psychosocial Organization, Nepal
- Caroline Reindorf Amissah, Health Authority, Ghana
- Vikram Patel, Harvard University, USA
This session provided an overview of the challenges for workforce capacity and skills development, as well as policy considerations and recommendations for short and longer-term implementation at national level.
With respect to the first question, different presentations were made, reflecting on who needs to build up their capacities. There was consensus that the knowledge, skills and competencies needed to support and care for people with mental health conditions extend beyond the specialized mental health workforce, and includes primary health care, community and social care workers. The involvement of non-specialists, community workers, peer experts, and other community members was agreed as paramount.
As for the second question, it was suggested that in addition to the core clinical skills at the different levels of the health system, wider psychosocial support skills, non-clinical competencies related to leadership, management and teamwork are necessary. Knowledge and capabilities in self-care, recovery, rights and citizenship, housing and employment were also highlighted. Pre-service and in-service training, competency-based approaches, and digital tools for rapid learning and scaling-up were suggested as different modalities to be used for capacity building and skills development. Given that training is often organized within each specialized context, activation of a multisectoral culture and approach should be implemented as a core component of skills development and training.
At the end of the session some recommendations were put forward:
- Workforce planning and development: To construct and revisit workforce development and associated capacity-building plans to ensure that they are based on the expected needs of the population, that they cover both specialist and non-specialist care providers, and that they incorporate mapping of different occupational categories to specified roles and functions within the mental health system;
- Service users in capacity-building: To enrich and extend training and capacity-building programmes by developing self-management and support tools and engaging people with lived experience in pre-service and in-service training;
- Digital and e-based training: To use digital e-learning tools and technologies for the expedited transfer and scale-up of knowledge, skills and competencies needed to deliver a comprehensive network of person-centred, rights-based and quality care in the community.
A skilled, capable and motivated workforce is vital for any mental health system to operate effectively and to address the mental health needs of the population. Skills development in relation to mental health care and service provision are required among health professionals and several other community stakeholders, such as social, community workers and leaders, teachers and police officers. Countries and international organizations participating in this Ministerial Global Mental Health Summit have renewed their commitment to advancing a community-focused approach to mental health.