No Health Without Mental Health | The Center for Victims of Torture

No Health Without Mental Health

Tuesday, April 8, 2014
Ann Willhoite, CVT International Clinical Advisor
Ann Willhoite, CVT International Clinical Advisor

On April 7, in commemoration of World Health Day, the Global Mental Health Advocacy Working Group – a new NGO coalition co-founded by CVT and the International Medical Corps and dedicated to advancing the prioritization, quality and availability of mental health services in humanitarian, transition and development settings – hosted the briefing, “There is No Health without Mental Health.”

The briefing featured Dr. Devora Kestel, the Mental Health Regional Advisor with the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization; Ann Willhoite, a CVT ; Dr. Inka Weissbecker, the Global Mental Health and Psychosocial Advisor with the International Medial Corps; and Wendy Wheaton, an adjunct professor with Georgetown University whose background includes work with UNICEF and the U.S. Agency for International Development/Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance.

Overall, the panelist focused on gaps in mental health services globally and offered a series of recommendations for how policymakers can increase access to quality and appropriate mental health services, particularly in emergency contexts.  Recommendations included increasing funding for specialized mental health programs, integrating mental health and psychosocial support activities across sectors—including primary health care and community health, following guidelines established by the Inter-Agency Standing Committee, and increasing the capacity and expertise of the global health care work force.  Throughout the world, millions of men, women and children are suffering from psychological distress with little to no access to the services they need.  These steps can begin to close the gap between the tremendous global need and the grossly inadequate resources.


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