Mental health leadership and mental health advocacy as fundamental premises in mental health development

4 July, 2019

Dear HIFA colleagues,

Global health and global mental health are imposing a way of understanding health and mental health issues.

The next generation of health and mental health leaders must be equipped to face the new challenges brought about by the greater interconnectivity of geographies in a context of climate change and digital era.

LMICs and especially SSA still have the heaviest burden in mental health and neurological issues (MNS), large treatment gaps and very poor or inexistant mental healthcare services.

It is interesting to highlight though from a historical perspective, that the African countries which had been colonized, had germs of a mental health system.

What can explain the fact that so many years after their independences so many African countries in SSA are seriously lagging in mental health development?

Apart from the burden of physical diseases on their systems, what other causes have affected the development of a comprehensive and responsive mental health system in these countries?

These are complex questions. Causes and factors of the state of thing are varied and intertwined. However, it is becoming clearer from my participation at the 10th Annual mental health and leadership training programme (mhLAP) organized by the WHO collaborating Center for Research and Training in mental health, Neurosciences and Substance Abuse,Department of Psychiatry, at the University of Ibadan that; without mental health leadership and advocacy mental health in SSA mental health development will be extremely difficult.

Amongst many other variables involved and certainly modulating, regulating the development of mental health systems in SSA, countries which have been involved in the mhLAP training for the past ten years have been growing very well.

Therefore, because mental health is on global agenda could more investment in mental health and mental health advocacy trainings not be a cost effective way to address the serious effects of MNS in Africa and consequently on the world?

I think more investment should be done for it goes in line with technically providing access to mental health information.

The HIFA vision should be seen as a very powerful way to attain SDGs. With SDG 3 our great concern.

Without knowledge on what mental illnesses are what mental health is and how mental health services should be developed to address the continuously growing needs of populations now more interconnected than ever before, would we be ensuring our future with the people needed to manage it?

"Advocacy is an important means of raising awareness on mental health issues and ensuring that mental health is on the national agenda of government. Advocacy can lead to improvements in policy, legislation and service development" WHO, 2003

I hereby stand for mhLAP across Africa.

Kindest regards,

Didier Demassosso

HIFA country representative for Cameroon.


Didier Demassosso

Mental Health Expert

HIFA Country Representative For Cameroon

HIFA Country representative of the year 2014

MHIN Africa Knowledge Exchange volunteer assistant

Member of the African Evidence Network (AEN)

Cameroon Human Right Fellow 2017

Vonlunteer at the International Association For Counselling

Tel :(237) 670-14-01-23/694-90-20-29


skype: Didier Demassosso

HIFA profile: Didier Demassosso is a School Counsellor at the Ministry of Secondary Education in Cameroon. HIFA Country Representative For Cameroon/HIFA Country Represenative of the year 2014 and Mental Health Worker. Professional interests: Health Promotion, Mental Health Promotion, School mental health promotion, School health promotion, Mobile Health, Mental health, Public health, Public mental health, Trauma, Environment,the mind, ICT, Culture, Adolescent/Child health, Maternal health. He is a HIFA Country Representative.

Email: didier.demassosso AT