Commonwealth Foundation Director to speak at Commonwealth Health Ministers Meeting Partners’ Forum 2013

‘Mental Health – a legislative framework to empower, protect and care’

Commonwealth Foundation Director, Vijay Krishnarayan will welcome delegates to the Commonwealth Partners’ Forum, held immediately after the Commonwealth Health Ministers’ Meeting (CHMM) in Geneva on Sunday 19 May 2013. The forum, titled ‘Mental Health – a legislative framework to empower, protect and care’ is organised by the Commonwealth Health Professions Alliance (CHPA) in partnership with McKinsey and Company, and the Commonwealth Foundation.

Sharing his expectations for the Forum, Mr Krishnarayan commented “While we recognise the importance of dialogue and gatherings like this we are much more interested in the action and consequences that follow. I particularly welcome the commitment by CHPA member organisations to follow up in countries where the need for improvements in mental health legislation has been recognised. It is very encouraging that regional organisations including CARICOM, SADC, WAHO and ECSA have already indicated an interest in the outcomes.”

In preparation for the CHMM, the CHPA has commissioned research on mental health legislation across the Commonwealth from a human rights perspective; with a focus on best practice and highlighting where improvements need to be made. The results from the research will be released at the forum and will include specific recommendations for Commonwealth Health Ministers.

The forum will bring together civil society representatives and senior officials working in health to discuss mental health legislation across the Commonwealth. Together with the commissioned research, it aims to give civil society a stronger voice and clearer messages so they can participate more effectively in advocating for mental health legislation and policy reform in their own environment.

Going forward the CHPA hopes to provide on-going support and encouragement at a national and regional level in order to empower mental health advocate organisations and individuals to lobby their governments to undertake mental health legislative and policy reform.