May 2012
Minutes of section meeting of WPA Section on ‘Public Policy and Psychiatry’ Buenos Aires, 2011, September 21

Thank you for your reactions to our invitation. The following members expressed their interest, but excused themselves for the Buenos Aires meeting: Ezra Susser, Michele Tansella, Jonathan Burns, George Szmukler, John Sadler, Yoshibumi Nakane, Johannes Wancata, Bir Singh Chavan, Victor Vladar Rivero, Gabriela Cruz, Wolfgang Rutz, Violet Okech, Levent Kuey, Helen Herrman, Richard Warner

Present at the meeting were:

Michael Krausz, Vivienne Miller, Peter McGeorge, Roy Abraham Kallivayalil, Jitendra Kumar Trivedi, Ann Farden, Rachel Jenkins, Alan Rosen, Annie Lau, Viviane Kovess, J. Srinavasaraghavan, Michaela Amering

Section activities were manifold at the Buenos Aires congress and well attended.

1. We welcome as new members:

  • Ann Farden/Norway
  • Jitendra Kumar Trivendi/India

2. Election proceedings and section board positions:

  • We do not have or expect a quorum for an election process at a meeting. So we will conduct an e-mail election as we have done before.
  • Currently the section board consist of

Richard Warner/USA (Chairperson)

Wolfgang Rutz/Sweden (Co-Chair)

Michaela Amering/Austria (Secretary)

Graham Thornicroft/UK

Vikram Patel/UK

Gabriela Cruz Ares/Mexico

Jonathan Burns/South Africa

  • Michaela Amering reports from meetings with Richard Warner and Jonathan Burns and their willingness to stay on the board as past chair (Warner) and secretary (Burns) with Amering as chairperson if so voted in via e-mail election.
  • Gabriela Cruz has informed all of us via e-mail of her further interest on serving the section on its board. (Congratulations again, dear Gabriela!)
  • Michael Krausz expresses his willingness to come on board and to take on the task of coordinating the web activities of the section (contact with WPA webmaster Levent Kuey re our website, newsletter etc.)
  • There is an expressed interest from our Australian section members for one of them to serve on the board and they will make a suggestion during the coming days. It is clarified that non-psychiatrist mental health professional are welcome on the board.

The meeting approves these plans and we ask you now to please let your interest in any board activities or changes and the election process be known within the coming week!

3. Task Force work on WPA Recommendations on best practice in working with service users and carers has been successfully finalized. A report will appear in the October issue of World Psychiatry, which you find attached: Partnerships for better mental health worldwide: WPA recommendations on best practices in working with service users and family carers. Jan Wallcraft, Michaela Amering, Julian Freidin, Bhargavi Davar, Diane Froggatt, Hussain Jafri, Afzal Javed, Sylvester Katontoka, Shoba Raja, Solomon Rataemane, Sigrid Steffen, Sam Tyano,Christopher Underhill, Henrik Wahlberg, Richard Warner, Helen Herrman.

Today WPA GA has passed unanimously an amendment to the Madrid Declaration re user and carer involvement following a suggestion by the Task Force together with the WPA Ethics Committee (Sam Tyano, Afzal Javed). The new version of the amended Madrid Declaration will be sent to you as soon as available.

The next phase of the Task Force work will be concerned with model projects in different WPA countries.

4. Report from the section committee meeting (Amering):

  • Miguel Jorge was thanked for his work as secretary of sections.
  • However, he did express clearly that he had found it quite difficult to make gains with regard to attention and support for section work.
  • He will provide the newly elected WPA secretary for sections - Afzal Javed – with a compilation of ongoing concerns and plans to improve section work..

5. Amering reports on George Szmukler’s renewed offer to distribute his et al’s Model law fusing incapacity and mental health legislation including an Outline of the Model Law via our website and boost ongoing international discussion and possible action on this topic. This is very welcome and of interest under the consideration of great differences re mental health legislation in different countries and will profit from enhanced section web presence and communication.

6. Interest in intersectional cooperations are expressed specifically by

  • WPA section on Epidemiology and Public Health with an expressed special interest by section chair Viviane Kovess with regard to using epidemiological data in a way that is meaningful to mental health practice. Their next meeting will be 14-17 March, 2012 - SÃO PAULO - BRAZIL
  • Transcultural psychiatry (Ron Wintrob)
  • Conflict management and resolution (Michael Stark, Eliot Sorel) - Alan Rosen reports on his talk on ‘The call for an international apology from psychiatric services and professions: emancipating indigenous people with mental illnesses from the "double-whammy" colonization by both imperial powers and psychiatry’ and ongoing activities in this regard. The advice is voiced to involve the WPA Ethics Committee.
  • Addiction Psychiatry with Michael Krausz reporting on plans for a special intersectional WPA effort on

‘Addiction and concurrent disorders among vulnerable urban populations’

7. Section members in this meeting express specific interest and necessity of efforts towards

  • Essentials for national mental health strategies (Rachel Jenkins et al).
  • Possibly in conjunction with this there is a quest by Roy Abraham Kallivayalil et al to strengthens the position of mental health in developing countries especially also with regards to acknowledgement of medical school involvement and enhancements of psychiatry as part of curricula and university career pathways. Cooperation with the newly elected WPA secretary on education (Edgar Belfort) should be welcome.
  • Complaints procedures in different countries. Probably research to do, e.g. an international survey (Annie Lau et al)

Meeting participants conclude that our section should decide to focus our efforts on a few specific topics over the next years. We plan through improved communication via website and newsletter to arrive at an agreed work plan for 2012-2014 during the next months.

  • Our next section meeting will be held at WPA International Congress in Prague, October 17-21, 2012. We will inform you about time and place for a section meeting in Prague as soon as possible.
  • The next World Congress of Psychiatry in 2014 will be held in Madrid.
  • Information on these and other international and regional WPA meetings can be found on

For the minutes:

Michaela Amering, September 2011




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