Mental health

Training opportunities

Distance learning courses

The objective of WHO's work related to mental health and distance learning is to develop capacity within countries to reform and/or develop mental health policy, legislation and services that promote the rights of people with psychosocial disabilities in line with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and other international human rights standards.

WHO is currently working in partnership with academic centres around the world to run distance learning programmes. These programmes cover two broad topics: Mental Health, Legislation and Human Rights; and Mental Health Policy and Service Development. The programmes draw on the WHO guidance materials and tools and are delivered using face-to-face residential sessions and internet-based support.

International Diploma on Mental Health Law and Human Rights launched

The International Diploma on Mental Health Law and Human Rights is currently accepting applications for the new academic year . The Diploma is a collaboration between WHO and the ILS Law College in Pune, India.

This innovative Diploma builds the capacity of students to address human rights violations and to promote the rights of persons with psychosocial disabilities in accordance with the CRPD as well as other international and regional human rights norms and standards. Based on WHO MIND materials and tools, the course provides students with the opportunity to develop essential knowledge and expertise in the area of mental health, human rights and law.

The one year Diploma includes both residential sessions and distance learning and is taught by a faculty of renowned international experts who have been actively involved in improving the human rights situation for people with mental disabilities.

The diploma covers key issues related to mental health and human rights:

  • The CRPD and other UN and Regional human rights systems and standards relating to people with psychosocial disabilities;
  • The role of mental health laws, policy and services in protecting rights;
  • Applying a human rights framework to the development of mental health policy, law and services;
  • Respecting, protecting and fulfilling the rights and promoting quality care in mental health services;
  • Living independently and being included in the community - protecting civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights of persons with psychosocial disabilities;
  • Human rights monitoring and review mechanisms to protect the rights of people with psychosocial disabilities;
  • Procedure to successfully draft, adopt and implement human rights oriented mental health legislation;
  • How to undertake effective advocacy for mental health and human rights.

Students comprise persons with psychosocial disabilities, families, national policy-makers, lawyers, human rights defenders, health and mental health professionals. The course is truly international with people coming from all over the world including from Afghanistan, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Egypt, Fiji, Ghana, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Ireland, India, Jamaica, Jordan, Latvia, Lithuania, Nepal, Pakistan, Palestine, Spain, UK, USA, Vanuatu, Zambia and Zimbabwe and many other countries.

For further information about this course, visit the Diploma’s website:

Courses at the Centre for Public Mental Health

The Centre for Public Mental Health (CPMH) is a joint initiative of the Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health at the University of Cape Town (UCT) and the Department of Psychology at Stellenbosch University (SU) in South Africa. The CPMH was conceived on the background of the growing recognition that mental health is a crucial public health and development issue in low and middle-income countries. Courses offered are by distance learning, to be relevant and accessible to full-time working health and development professionals.