Mark van Ommeren
Dr Mark van Ommeren is head of the mental health unit within the WHO Department of Mental Health and Substance Use.
Much of Mark’s work has been inter-agency and focused on: initiating and developing humanitarian policy (ie Sphere standards, IASC guidelines), humanitarian tools (eg assessment tools, psychological first aid (PFA) guide, mhGAP Humanitarian Intervention Guide); evidence-based WHO guidelines (eg on depression and PTSD) ; scalable psychological interventions (eg Problem Management Plus); WHO model Essential Medicines List update, and supporting countries to build back better mental health systems after emergencies. To improve intersectoral collaboration he introduced the now popular term “mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS)” into inter-agency (IASC) humanitarian policy. And more recently he coordinated the writing of WHO's World Mental Health Report: Transforming Mental Health for All.
Born and raised in the Netherlands, Mark lived and worked for five years in Nepal and Fiji before joining WHO. He studied at University of British Columbia (BSc in statistics, 1992; MA in counselling psychology, 1995), and received his doctorate - on impact of torture on refugees in Nepal - from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (2000).