Message from the President || February 2021
Greetings for the new year! It is difficult to believe it is already February – these first months of my presidency have gone by quickly with a substantial amount of work on our 2020-2023 Action Plan already underway. The new Executive Committee has met several times since the General Assembly in October and has finalised changes made at that time to the WPA Statutes & Bylaws, and Manual of Procedures. Updated versions of both documents are now available on our website.
We have also established 16 Working Groups to tackle our six key priorities: Capacity Building; Public Mental Health; Child, Adolescent and Youth Mental Health; Addressing Co-Morbidity in Mental Health; Partnerships with other Professional Organisations and NGO’s; and Continuation and Completion of the previous Action Plan’s work. Each of these groups has brought together its members to develop terms of reference and agree on projects for the future. A list of the groups is available here and each of them will soon have a page on the website through which we will keep members informed of their work.
Meanwhile, WPA’s Advisory Council on Response to Emergencies (ACRE), established last year to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and other emergencies, continues its excellent work in support of children in Nepal. Through ACRE, we have been able to arrange professional support from the Royal College of Psychiatrists UK to train mental health professionals in Belarus; while the Royal Australian & New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) has provided a generous grant to Papua New Guinea in support of ongoing work on COVID-19.
Our meetings program is in full swing. Planning for the 2021 WPA World Congress of Psychiatry in Cartagena is well-underway and we are excited to have an in-person meeting scheduled. Certainly, as COVID-19 vaccinations are rolled out across much of the globe, our hope is that the opportunity to safely travel will once again be restored.
In December last year, we hosted a virtual thematic congress on Intersectional Collaboration “Psychological Trauma: Global burden on mental and physical health”. Presentations from the meeting are available via our website and a full report of the meeting is available HERE. We also co-sponsored a number of online events, including the 2020 WISH Summit and, more recently, a joint webinar with the World Health Organization (WHO) on “The COVID pandemic in Europe: Lessons learnt”. WPA is now exploring with WHO, the possibility of arranging similar meetings in other WHO zones.