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Transformative Opportunities for Solving the Grand Challenges in Global Mental Health


Bethesda, MD

The NIMH Office for Research on Disparities and Global Mental Health and Grand Challenges Canada  co-convened a workshop that brought together global mental health researchers, innovators, and other stakeholders. Participants discussed exciting new research findings and strategic opportunities for addressing the six priority areas identified in the Grand Challenges in Global Mental Health initiative.

The workshop opened with welcoming remarks from NIMH Director Dr. Joshua Gordon, Dr. Karlee Silver (Grand Challenges Canada’s Vice President of Programs), Dr. Pamela Collins (Director of NIMH Office for Research on Disparities and Global Mental Health) and Dr. Beverly Pringle (Deputy Director of NIMH Office for Research on Disparities and Global Mental Health).

Keynote speakers included Dr. Shekhar Saxena (Director of Mental Health and Substance Abuse at the World Health Organization) and Dr. Maria Oquendo (President of the American Psychiatric Association, Chair of Department of Psychiatry at University of Pennsylvania’s School of Medicine, and NIMH Council Board Member).  Speakers emphasized the importance of innovation, collaboration and engagement of local partnerships in global mental health research. Dr. Saxena stated “There is no development without health, specifically mental health.”

Workshop session topics included: school-based mental health interventions; intervening in psychosis; the implications of the Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) on global mental health research; capitalizing on digital intervention platforms; neuroscience and global mental health; implementation science for mental health care integration; and large-scale population cohorts and data integration.

Senior mental health researchers facilitated lunchtime discussions for students, post-docs and early stage investigators. The lunch conversations allowed for knowledge exchange and discussions of mentoring, research career development, and research interests. The workshop concluded with a session showcasing the work of implementation partners in global mental health practice in Asia-Pacific countries, Latin America, and Sub-Saharan Africa.