Mark van Ommeren
Mark van Ommeren, PhD, is Head of the Mental Health Unit within the WHO Department of Mental Health and Substance Use. The Unit covers a wide range of topics including suicide prevention, services across the life course, mental health education, psychological interventions, essential medicines, and mental health in humanitarian emergencies and at the workplace. He coordinated the writing of the WHO (2022) World Mental Health Report: Transforming Mental Health for All.
Much of Mark’s earlier work has focused on initiating and developing inter-agency mental health policy for humanitarian settings (e.g., Sphere standards, IASC guidelines) with linked implementation tools; developing, testing and disseminating a range of scalable psychological interventions; and “building back better” mental health services across different levels of the health system after major emergencies. As part of this work, he introduced the term “mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS)” into the development of inter-agency humanitarian guidelines, which has resulted in improved collaboration across sectors in humanitarian settings around the world.
Born and raised in the Netherlands, he studied at the University of British Columbia (BSc in statistics (1992) and MA in (intercultural) counselling psychology (1995)) and received his doctorate (covering culture-informed epidemiology of mental disorders among refugees in Nepal) from the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam (2000).