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, in order to promote mental health, facilitate effective service delivery and better protect the rights of people with mental disorders.

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 will draw on the WHO Mental Health Policy and Service Guidance Package and the WHO Resource Book on Mental Health, Human Rights and Legislation for the core content of their curricula and will be delivered using the internet and face-to-face seminars, internet-based support. During the next two years, WHO will develop the curricula and materials (including interactive CD-ROMs, printed material, audio-visual material), in consultation with a range of experts and stakeholders.

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 mental disabilities in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Mental Disabilities and other international human rights 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 WHO's work to improve the human rights conditions for people with mental disabilities.

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

  • UN and Regional human rights systems and standards relating to mental health;
  • the role of mental health laws, policy and services in protecting rights;
  • applying a human rights framework to the development of mental health policy and law;
  • fundamental rights of people with mental disabilities and their families;
  • living independently and being included in the community - protecting civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights of persons with mental disabilities;
  • essential procedural protection for admission and discharge from mental health facilities;
  • human rights monitoring and review mechanisms to protect the rights of people with mental disabilities;
  • criminal law as it relates to mental health;
  • 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 mental 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 among other countries.

International Masters in Mental Health Policy and Services

The “Universidade Nova de Lisboa” (New University of Lisbon), through the Faculdade de Ciências Medicas (Medical School) offers the International Master Degree in International Mental Health Policy and Services (MHPS) in collaboration with the Department of Mental Health and Substance Dependence of the World Health Organization.

The Master Course in International Mental Health aims to provide general training in areas related to:

  • formulation, implementation and evaluation of mental health policies, plans and programmes;
  • organization of mental health care and related services.

The main scope of the Master Degree in International Mental Health Policy and Services (MHPS) is to build capacity of mental health professionals to lead and contribute to conceiving, formulating, implementing and evaluating:

  • national Mental Health Policy;
  • national Mental Health Legislation;
  • mental Health Services and Care delivery.

The Master (MHPS) provides knowledge and skills for participants in the following areas:

  • basic elements of Public Mental Health including Mental Health of the Populations and Epidemiology of Mental Disorders;
  • basic elements of Research Methods and Statistics;
  • principles of Mental Health Policy and Plans formulation;
  • principles of Mental Health Legislation and Human Rights;
  • principles of Mental Health Services and Care Delivery organization;
  • basic elements of Mental Health Service Research;
  • information on world- wide models and experiences of Mental Health Policy and Service Organization (from high, middle and low-income countries);
  • information on global mental health issues.

The course starts with a two-week residential session, at the Faculdade de Ciências Médicas campus in Lisbon. A second two-week residential session is held in Year 2. Between the two residential sessions, the students will participate in e-learning teaching activities under the orientation of supervisors.

The second year of the Course is dedicated to the development of a project and the elaboration of the dissertation, under the orientation of a supervisor.

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.