Center for Victims of Torture, Global Mental Health, Global Mental Health Advocacy Working Group, health and human rights, humanitarian care, humanitarian crisis, humanitarian emergency, mental health, NGO, psychological distress, psychosocial support, refugee health, refugee mental health, refugees, war and conflict
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.