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School & Program Updates

School & Program Updates

Washington to Host Global Action on Mental Health Event in Seattle on World Mental Health Day

Leaders from around the world will gather in Seattle on October 19 for a special event to explore global mental health and sustainable development, hosted by the University of Washington and The Lancet.

The event will celebrate the 2018 launch of the Commission on Global Mental Health and Sustainable Development, which is set to be published in The Lancet on World Mental Health Day, on October 10. Launch events for the Commission are planned around the world, including the plenary and panel discussions in Seattle.

The event is sponsored by the UW’s global mental health program, a joint effort of the Department of Global Health – which bridges the UW Schools of Public Health and of Medicine – and the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. Authors of the Commission include Dr. Pamela Collins and Dr. Jürgen Unützer, both faculty members of the UW Schools of Public Health and of Medicine.

Dr. Collins is director of the global mental health program and professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and global health, and Dr. Unützer is chair and professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and adjunct professor of global health and health services.

Mental disorders are the largest contributor to years of life lived with disability. They undermine care for other health problems and have persistently high rates of excess and premature mortality. Their impact extends beyond the clinic or the hospital to families and communities. Their effect on economic productivity alone makes clear that preventing and treating these conditions is critical for sustainable development; yet, nowhere in the world is investment in mental health proportionate to the burden.

To respond to these challenges, The Lancet Commission on Global Mental Health and Sustainable Development aims to give fresh energy to the prioritization of mental health, and to ensure physical and mental health are valued equally by the global health and development communities. The Commission outlines a blueprint for action on mental health to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

The Seattle launch event will feature a keynote address by Dr. Shekhar Saxena, a visiting professor at Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. He is a psychiatrist by training, and prior to his current position worked at the World Health Organization in Geneva for two decades, where he served as the director of the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse from 2010 to 2018.

The plenary lecture and panel discussions will be held at Kane Hall Room 225 on the UW’s Seattle Campus from 2-6 p.m. on October 19. Learn more.