course ID: 2021_cMHP

Policy Options on Mental Health


Good mental health policy will help people, organizations, and governments deal with the novel coronavirus and meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The mental health challenges we face are both immediately and long term, and mental health is now conceived as a public good, crucial to attain economic growth, social inclusion, and environmental protection. The prominence of social determinants of mental health and a shift from diagnosis to a dimensional approach provide unique opportunities for mental health promotion, and prevention. Now more than ever, it is imperative that mental health policies align with the SDGs, and implementation efforts embrace and promote multisectoral approaches and actively involve stakeholders.

 The course will address:

  • Pending and pressing issues and challenges in public mental health
  • Mental Health Policy and Plans, and Mental Health Services
  • Identification and use of policy options for the implementation of mental health policies
  • The impact of the COVID19 epidemic on mental health


At the end of the course participants will:

  • Know the key pending mental health issues and challenges in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
  • Understand and master the principles, approaches, and objectives of the 2013-2020 WHO Mental Health Action Plan
  • Be familiar with the existing experiences, evidence, and good practices to inform the public health response to the population’s mental health needs
  • Be able to contribute to the design of mental health policy, plans, and programs
  • Be able to identify barriers and facilitators to inform and guide local implementation of mental health policies and plans
  • Acquire competences for the design and assessment of complex interventions for mental health
  • Know the relevance and implications of the COVID19 epidemic for public mental health


None specific. Previous or current involvement and/or research in mental health projects and programs at all levels of health and social systems is an asset.

Pedagogical Method:

A mix of lectures, practical activities, and interactive sessions.

Assessment procedure:

At the end of the course, participants will be asked to write a two-page policy brief on a topic of their choice.

Emiliano Albanese

Professor of Public Health, Faculty of Biomedical Sciences, Università della Svizzera italiana;

Associate Professor of Public Mental Health and Director, WHO Collaborating Center for research and training in mental health, University of Geneva, Switzerland (CH)

Benedetto Saraceno

Secretary General, Lisbon Institute of Global Mental Health, NOVA University, Lisbon (PT)

Marta Fadda

Post-doctoral researcher and lecturer at the Institute of  Public Health, Faculty of Biomedical Sciences, Università della Svizzera italiana



Dzmitry Krupchanka

Medical Officer at World Health Organization

Chiara Servili

Technical Officer, Department of Mental Health and Substance Use, World Health Organization (WHO)