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Update on WPA Working Group's “Implementing alternatives to Coercion” collaboration with the WHO


During the last triennium, the WPA Working Group, “Supporting Alternatives to Coercion in Mental Health Care” worked hard to not only support mental health professionals and their organisations through programmes of research, service development and education, but also sought collaborations with member societies and institutions to further develop their work. One of these successful collaborations was with the WHO.


This valuable collaboration has continued into this triennium, with the Working Group now named "Supporting and Implementing Alternatives to Coercion in Mental Health Care". Since November 2020, WPA representatives (including Helen Herrman, John Allan and Silvana Galderisi) have been working with senior members of the WHO (Michelle Funk and Natalie Drew) to further discuss this topic.


The team have had several constructive (virtual) meetings to discuss and give feedback on the draft guidance document “WHO good practice guidance document on community based mental health services promoting human rights and recovery”. Both parties have found the collaboration productive and rewarding, especially with regards to reducing the gap between the WPA Position paper and the WHO positions reflected in the guidance paper.


In addition to these collaborative efforts, the WPA's Coercion Working Group team and the WPA President, Professor Afzal Javed, were invited to participate in March’s Collaborators Meeting - "Communication and dissemination on the WHO good practice guidance document on community-based mental health services”, to offer advice on the dissemination plan of this document. During the meeting, both parties were keen to continue the collaboration and the WPA proposed to include information about the WHO guidance document in their dissemination plan for the WPA "Implementing Alternatives to Coercion" paper. Professor Silvana Galderisi commented “we are proud of our work on coercion and are looking forward to the continued collaboration with the WHO team that are as committed as we are to providing alternatives to coercion in psychiatry”.


Authors: Prof. Silvana Galderisi and Prof. John Allan



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The WPA is the global association representing 145 psychiatric societies in 121 countries, and bringing together more than 250,000 psychiatrists.  It promotes collaborative work in psychiatry through its 70+ scientific sections, education programs, publications and events. 
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