New Policy Brief: Hub Communities Call for Urgent Action on Mental Health

11. May 2023 I  News ,  Mental Health  I by : Eva Genzmer

After an intense workshop on our Annual Community Theme 2022 “Mental Health & Wellbeing” at the end of 2022, the Global Mental Health Community elaborated the findings in a Community Paper, including recommendations to improve mental health worldwide.


About one in eight people around the world live with one or more mental disorders. Nevertheless, only 2% of health spending globally is allocated to mental health. There is a lack of services, skills and funding for mental health, especially in low and middle-income countries. Furthermore, patients with mental health conditions face stigmatization.

To address these issues, the Hub Communities propose recommendations to improve mental health services worldwide:

  1. The effective prevention and early treatment of mental illness goes beyond the concept of population health. Planning and implementing interdisciplinary prevention measures is more cost-effective than treating mental disorders late or not at all, and will lead to more resilient health systems and economies.
  2. Facilitating access to mental health care is the first step to improving care.
  3. There can be no health without mental health. Deconstructing disciplinary silos results in more robust and adaptable health care systems.

These recommendations are aimed at various German stakeholder groups, including policy-makers, physicians, the health workforce, scientists, civil society and patients, and were developed based on a transdisciplinary consultation process with global health experts.

Cross-cutting approach

For the first time, the members of the Global Health Hub Germany have voted on an overarching and cross-community theme for 2022: “Mental Health & Wellbeing”. The idea of the annual community theme is to break down silos between the individual hub communities in order to enable an even extensive interdisciplinary and cross-sectoral cooperation.

The consultation process, with the Global Mental Health Community being in the lead, involved six further Hub Communities: Hub Community on Non-communicable Diseases,  Hub Community on Urban Health, Hub Community on Women's Health, Hub Community on Child Health, Hub Community on Climate Change & Health, and Hub Community on Global Health & Migration.

The process was supported by United for Mental Health

Core topics

Three core areas were identified as central in the interlinkage of global mental health and other global health fields:

  1. Climate change and migration: Policy-makers should also accord greater recognition to the impact of climate change on mental health and provide more funds for research on the interrelations of climate change and mental health.
  2. Non-Communicable Diseases and Urban Health: Policy-makers should plan inclusive and health-promoting living environments to encourage and enable a healthy lifestyle, resulting in a positive impact on physical and mental health. Screenings for the early detection and prevention of mental health conditions should also be included in primary health care visits.
  3. Parent and child health: Policy-makers should prioritize parental mental health given its impact on both parents and the child. Regular cooperation between actors dealing with children can result in synergies, lower costs, and better patient outcomes.

Universal Health Coverage

Universal Health Coverage (UHC) ensures access to good physical and mental health support. However, certain populations face barriers to accessing mental health care, including refugees, asylum seekers, those with lower socio-economic status, children, adolescents, and women. To address these issues, healthcare personnel should receive training in culturally competent and trauma-informed care, professional interpreters should be available, and healthcare should be culturally and linguistically appropriate. Funding programs should reduce discrimination and barriers to healthcare access, and low-threshold entry points should be provided. Civil society and policy-makers should raise awareness and promote help-seeking behavior.


In conclusion, it is essential to see that mental health is inherent in all areas of global health, and that indeed there is no health without mental health. Universal Health Coverage  means access to both physical and mental health services. Efficient and tailored measures to improve mental health have the potential to help tackle other global health challenges. It is vital to communicate the importance of the interconnectedness of mental health and other global health topics and their overlaps in prevention and treatment to policy-makers, health officials and the medical community at large. All stakeholders in global mental health must have an intersectoral understanding of mental health policy, planning and legislation.


Further infromation:

Policy Brief "Covid-19 and Mental Health" from 2022


Image source: Inzmam Khan / Pexels

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