Lancet Psychiatry: A partnership for transforming mental health globally

28 February, 2019

Dear HIFA colleagues, below are the citation, summary and selected extracts of a new paper from HIFA member Vikram Patel and colleagues, and a brief comment from me:

CITATION: A partnership for transforming mental health globally

Daniel V Vigo, DrPH, Prof Vikram Patel, PhD, Prof Anne Becker, PhD, Prof David Bloom, PhD, Winnie Yip, PhD, Giuseppe Raviola, MD et al.

Lancet Psychiatry 2019

Published: January 28, 2019



The large and increasing burden of mental and substance use disorders, its association with social disadvantage and decreased economic output, and the substantial treatment gaps across country-income levels, are propelling mental health into the global spotlight. The inclusion of targets related to mental health and wellbeing in the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, as well as several national and global initiatives that formed during the past 5 years, signal an increasing momentum toward providing appropriate financing for global mental health. Drawing on the organisational and financial architecture of two successful global health scale-up efforts (the fight against HIV/AIDS and the improvement of maternal and child health) and the organisational models that have emerged to finance these and other global health initiatives, we propose a multi-sectoral and multi-organisational Partnership for Global Mental Health to serve two main functions. First is the mobilisation of funds, including raising, pooling, disbursing, and allocating. Second is stewardship, including supporting countries to use funds effectively, evaluate results, and hold stakeholders accountable. Such a partnership would necessarily involve stakeholders from the mental health field, civil society, donors, development agencies, and country-level stakeholders, organised into hubs responsible for financing, scale-up, and accountability.


The Lancet Commission on global mental health and sustainable development highlights the fragmentation of constituencies and the usually ad-hoc nature of collaborations. Each multilateral organisation, non-governmental organisation, donor, and government pursues its own subset of priorities; this practice sometimes allows for punctual coordination but hinders sustained collaborations.

We believe that the time is right for this approach to harness and catalyse the growing momentum towards applying the large body of scientific evidence to achieve a global scale-up of effective mental health interventions. Reducing the large care gap and redressing the serious human rights abuses experienced by people with mental and substance use disorders offers a unique opportunity to serve a high moral imperative and advance the world's goals for sustainable development.

COMMENT: Engagement of the full range of stakeholders can be enhanced through multidisciplinary communities of practice such as HIFA. Mental health is one of the top priorities for HIFA and we are currently seeking funding to launch a new HIFA Mental Health Project.

Best wishes, Neil

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HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - ), a global community with more than 19,000 members in 177 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: