First Mental Health Forum

On October 18-20, the First Mental Health Forum on “Moving Towards Mental Health System & Services of the Future: Case of Building Back and Forward Better in Ukraine” hosted by Ukraine was held in Kyiv.

The event was organized by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Mental Health Coordination Center under the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine within the framework of the All-Ukrainian Mental Health Program initiated by First Lady Olena Zelenska.

The forum brought together all the leading Ukrainian stakeholders and foreign experts involved in developing a system of accessible, high-quality, and barrier-free mental health services, as well as building a culture of concern for mental health.

The event was attended by experts from the European Institute of Public Health Policy, who are implementing mental health activities under the USAID Public Health System Recovery and Resilience Activity. Our team reported on the results of the project’s activities for the year, shared their experience mapping mental health services in various regions with colleagues, and presented the concept of “Taking Care of Myself” centers.

One of the many important topics discussed at the Forum was expanding access to mental health services for all Ukrainians in need. A solution proven by international experience and now being implemented in Ukraine on a daily basis is the provision of appropriate care by primary care practitioners, including family doctors. So far, more than 46,000 doctors have completed the WHO’s mhGAP course, which provides necessary skills and knowledge, and 705 medical institutions in the country are already providing mental health services.

During the presentation on the integration of mental health services into primary healthcare, Iryna Mykychak, Director of Coordination of Central and Executive Authorities of the Coordination Center for Mental Health, expressed gratitude to all the partners providing training for family doctors under the mhGAP program for the clinical management of mental disorders. The results of the USAID Public Health System Recovery and Resilience Activity were highlighted, as it trained the largest number of primary health care professionals over the past year.

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