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March 3, 2014

World Federation for Mental Health creates links across the world

The fact that the South African Federation for Mental Health, in 1948, was a founding member of the World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH) is one that makes us proud. Over the years WFMH has endeavoured to improve services for people with Mental Disabilities, to address stigma and to empower Mental Health Care Users.

The mission of WFMH is to promote the advancement of Mental Health awareness, prevention of Mental Disorders, advocacy, and best practice recovery focused interventions worldwide - addressing the same issues worldwide that SAFMH addresses in our own country. Members include Mental Health service providers, Mental Health Care Users and anyone interested in Mental Health issues - an exciting diversemembership. Associations can join, as can individuals. Visit for more information.

The World Federation has close ties with the World Health Organisation (WHO), and works hard to continually encourage WHO to place Mental Health issues higher on the agenda within the Departments of Health of all countries. The very exciting WHO Mental Health Action Plan 2013-2020 is one example of this. It can be accessed through the WFMH website.

In October 2013, I was re-elected to the Board of WFMH, and would like to keep readers informed regarding current developments. The work of WFMH is being addressed through Board committees that communicate through Skype meetings and I serve on four of these committees. We have worked hard on the new website that went ’live’ in February: It contains comprehensive and valuable information on Mental Health, WFMH activities, membership information and links to important WHO documents, including the aforementioned Action Plan.

We are also revisiting the WFMH By-Laws with the aim of ensuring that the different constituencies and geographical areas are better represented on the Board and that WFMH members are more engaged in the life and governance of the Board. WFMH is empowered to advocate globally for Mental Health at the United Nations, WHO and similar organisations through the diversity and numbers of its members, and therefore efforts are being made to increase membership.

The next board meeting of WFMH will be held in Athens from 9-11 October 2014 in conjunction with a Conference “Living with Schizophrenia”, the same theme for 2014 World Mental Health Day.

Last modified on October 5, 2015