HHD's Resources

World Conference on Mental Health

Sixth World Conference on Mental Health

A person’s mental health can have a profound effect on their physical health and behavior, school success, workplace productivity, and family and community stability. Unfortunately, mental disorders pervade the lives of many—one person in four will have at least one mental or behavioral disorder during their lifetime. Yet so much more is known now about the ways to promote and protect mental health.

“We have a much better understanding of mental health,” said EDC’s Jerry Reed. “Many more programs and trainings have been developed in recent years that promote positive mental health and reduce the stigma and discrimination surrounding mental illness.”

EDC’s Health and Human Development Division will co-host an international conference on mental health November 17-19, 2010 in Washington, DC. The Sixth World Conference on the Promotion of Mental Health and Prevention of Mental and Behavioral Disorders is co-hosted by the Carter Center, Clifford Beers Foundation, and the World Federation for Mental Health. First launched in 2000, it has been held every two years in different cities around the world.

“This conference is one of a kind,” said Reed. “It brings together experts from across the globe that will share strategies for addressing factors—like poverty and social exclusion—that influence mental health.”

Mental health is a critical issue for governments, communities, and individuals around the world. This year’s conference will address the pervasive and enduring inequalities that affect the mental health of millions of people, in both rich and poor countries. It will explore the following themes:

  • Addressing the underlying social and economic factors
  • Balancing an emphasis on promotion as well as treatment
  • Achieving parity in reimbursement for care
  • Redressing generations of trauma for indigenous people
  • Recognizing and responding to the interrelationship of physical and mental health

The conference will feature experts in the field from across the globe.

Sir Michael Marmot, Principal Investigator of the Whitehall Studies of British civil servants and winner of the Balzan Prize for Epidemiology in 2004, will discuss the social and economic determinants of mental health, as well as the types of policies and programs that must be implemented to address these underlying causes.

Dr. Carl Bell, a co-author of the recent Institute of Medicine report, Preventing Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Disorders Among Young People: Progress and Possibilities, will address the major ways in which countries can prevent mental disorders among children, in addition to broad population-based strategies aimed at promoting mental health.

Mr. Michael DeGagné, Executive Director of the Aboriginal Healing Foundation, will speak about the work of his organization to address the legacy of Canada's Indian Residential School System.

Professor Corey Keyes, a senior fellow at Emory University’s Center for the Study of Law and Religion and its multidisciplinary 5-year project on the “Pursuit of Happiness”, will discuss positive mental health.

Ms. Tanya Brown, sister of Nicole Brown Simpson, will describe her experience and posttraumatic stress after the trial of O.J. Simpson, who was accused of murdering her sister.

Keynotes and presentations will focus on public health strategies—research, advocacy, stakeholder partnerships, program implementation, and developing an effective workforce—to address imbalances and promote equity in mental health.

Visit the conference website at http://wmhconf2010.hhd.org.

For more information contact Anne O’Neill at aoneill@edc.org