29 Mar 2024

Webinar review: The WHO Flagship Initiative on Mental Health

“The WHO Flagship Initiative on Mental Health: Scope for Collaboration with EUCOMS.”

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Ledia Lazeri, Regional Adviser, Mental Health Flagship, WHO Regional Office for Europe.

Chaired by: Dr. Ionela Petrea, CEO, Insight International Institute for Mental Health & EUCOMS Network Board Director.

Introduction and Closing Remarks by Callum Ross, Peer Expert, and Partner at Habitus Collective UK.

Music Performance by SPOT, a creative workshop for young people in Alkmaar, The Netherlands.

Panel Discussion with Special Guests: Tor Helge Tjelta, Dr Aleksandar Tomcuk, Dr Matthias Albers, Mr Tiberiu Rotaru & Prof Manuel Franco-Martin.

Don’t miss this opportunity! Click the YouTube recording below:

Some participants asked for the presentations of the Panel Speakers, so here you are:

At the end of the webinar, we held a Q & A session, and because of the time limit, we didn’t have time to answer all the questions, but we extracted the unanswered questions and asked the speakers to answer them in writing. So we have a few answers as follows:

Q: I strongly believe in the integration of mental health services into the mainstream healthcare system. I would, therefore, wish to learn from presenters if this is already happening in their countries.
A: Formally, the aim of the Reticular model is exactly this. It´s not easy and resistance is high from mental health workers (looking for safe environments) funding (splitting the cost between all actors) and so on. But it´s possible and we go on it. For us, the main barrier has not been the policymakers or managers but the mental health workers who have to change their mindset to a more comprehensive approach to understanding what is the reason for every activity. Most psychiatrists and other mental health workers have been trained in the aim of remission (suppression of symptoms) and the healing is no symptoms without taking care of sequels, deficits and social environment. The fact is that even today the positive symptoms of schizophrenia have more weight than the negative ones. It was not in the first definition and observations but it´s currently in the atmosphere and thinking of new mental health workers. From my point of view, the main barrier to this is to change the mindset of mental health workers to a more comprehensive view of the mental disorder putting the person first. 

Q: Clubhouses have been proven to keep people well saving money from hospital costs. Do places like Clubhouse where people with lived experience can recover & thrive together have a place?
A1: Clubhouses have barely been implemented in Spain and the experience is very low or nothing. So, I can not say a lot about but it´s a good setting very useful for many people. I think that it should be promoted more, especially in my country.
A2: Here in Norway, we have a strong Primary Mental Health in the municipalities with MH nurses, occupational therapists, social educators, social workers, peer workers, job specialists (IPS), a.o. And of course, GPs – every inhabitant has a GP (or should have a GP). Recently the GPs got better payment/fees for serving people with comorbid illnesses. Mental Health is also integrated in Public Health – Public Mental Health.