Australia and India join forces to fight a global epidemic
Asia-Australia Mental Health (AAMH) is a consortium which includes staff from the University of Melbourne’s Department of Psychiatry, Asialink and St Vincent’s Hospital.
They joined the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare India and the National Institute of Health and Family Welfare India for the Building Partnerships in Community Mental Health conference from 17-19 February.
Professor Bruce Singh represented the University at the conference. He said mental health issues were increasingly posing a tremendous socio-economic burden.
“The University is proud to be involved in this national consortium and international effort to reduce the burden of mental health issues in India and in our region,” he said.
The New Delhi conference included 30 international delegates among 150 participants.
Professor Singh said there were two important outcomes from the conference. “We received updates from representatives of member countries on how their national mental health reforms were progressing, and we made an agreement with the Indian government’s Department of Health and Family Welfare to develop a program to improve mental health services in four rural villages as a pilot for what may be achieved more broadly across India.”
AAMH has been working in the Asia Pacific region with 16 countries including India since 2005. The group’s signature program the Asia Pacific Community Mental Health Development Project promotes and inspires best practice in community mental health care in the Asia-Pacific region.
Professor Singh said it was important for University experts to share their expertise on the international stage.
“We’re public-spirited University: this is how we demonstrate out public minded-ness to the region by using our expertise to help others help themsleves with the aim of improving the care of mental health care of people who need it,” he said.