QMU Researchers Present to World’s First Global Ministerial Summit on Mental Health

By Press Office

Queen Margaret University’s Professor Alastair Ager is speaking at the world’s first global ministerial mental health summit hosted by the UK’s Department of Health and Social Care on October 9th and 10th 2018.

Alastair Ager, Director of QMU’s Institute for Global Health and Development (IGHD) and of the NIHR Global Health Research Unit on Health Systems in Situations of Fragility (RUHF) will address the summit of ministers, academics, policy makers and patients from more than 30 countries. He will discuss the RUHF’s pioneering work into mental healthcare provision in Lebanon and Sierra Leone. He will be joined at the meeting by Abdulai Jawo Bah, a doctoral researcher from Sierra Leone currently studying at QMU.

In Lebanon, RUHF has identified the major health needs of Syrian refugee and Lebanese host populations, and the recurrent systems barriers impeding access to quality provision. In Sierra Leone RUHF is addressing the challenges faced in the roll-out of service innovations such as Psychological First Aid (PFA) and the World Health Organisation’s mental health gap action programme (mhGAP). In both settings, RUHF is exploring the role of an app that rapidly collects information on the resources available to communities and the pathways to connect with them. .

Mental health is receiving increasing global attention, with organisations such as the Academy of Medical Sciences, the Lancet Psychiatry Commission and the McPin Foundation all recently hosting events and focusing research into this area.

The summit provides an opportunity to raise awareness and create effective change to benefit the estimated one in four people who will experience a mental health problem at some point in their lives.

Professor Ager, who currently serves as Deputy Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK government’s Department for International Development will also join Minister of State Harriet Baldwin for a roundtable discussion addressing the need for more attention to the mental health and psychosocial needs of children and youth in settings such as war-torn Syria and tsunami-affected Indonesia.

Find out more about the work of the RUHF, which is hosted within IGHD at QMU.

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