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Black Tie International:
Time to Act on Global Mental Health
Hayfa Matar, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Bahrain to the United Nations; Pierre-David Jean, Diplomat, Permanent Mission of Canada to the United Nations; H.E. Ambassador Jeroen Cooreman, Deputy Permanent Representative, Mission of Belgium

 

Co-organizers of the event (right to left):  Hayfa Matar, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Bahrain to the United Nations; Pierre-David Jean, Diplomat, Permanent Mission of Canada to the United Nations; H.E. Ambassador Jeroen Cooreman, Deputy Permanent Representative, Mission of Belgium to the United Nations (the three co-chairs of the Group of Friends of Mental Health and Well-being, member states at the United Nations committed to promoting mental health and well-being as a foundation for the achievement of the Global Goals); Dr. Judy Kuriansky, Main UN NGO representative, International Association of Applied Psychology and past-President, the Psychology Coalition of NGOs accredited at the United Nations and advisor to the Group of Friends;
 Elisha
London, CEO, United for Global Mental Health, moderator and presenter

Time to Act on Global Mental Health


Photos: Black Tie Magazine/Rose Billings
 

Building Momentum on Mental Health in the SDG Era


 

One out of four people around the world have to deal with mental health problems at some point in their life, for themselves or someone they know. To shine a light on this problem, and solutions, this year for the first time, an event took place during the prestigious General Assembly at the United Nations when Presidents, Prime Ministers and high-level officials annually come together.  On September 26th, a full-to-capacity room of political leaders, members of civil society, non-governmental organizations, the private sector, academia, UN agencies, everyday heroes and mental health advocates gathered to hear experts, government officials and people with lived experience about mental health, to share progress and propose ways to combat stigma
and promote better mental health
-- as included in the UN Global Goals for Sustainable Development.

In a dramatic gesture of the urgency of the issue, 132 white roses were passed out to attendees to symbolize the number of people who would have taken their own lives during the time of the event. Also, a film about one solution was shown that was first launched in Zimbawbe, named the  “Friendship Bench,” where people can come to a park bench to talk openly with a lay health worker about their problems.

Coordinated by United for Global Mental Health and funded by the Government of Canada, the co-sponsors of the event were the Governments of Canada and the Netherlands, the United Nations Group of Friends of Mental Health and Well-being (led by three member states at the UN (the Missions of Canada, Belgium, and the Kingdom of Bahrain), the Mission of Ecuador to the United Nations, the World Health Organization, the Canadian Mental Health Association, Born This Way Foundation (founded by Lady Gaga and her mother), NEXUS, the International Association of Applied Psychology (IAAP) and the Psychology Coalition of NGOs
accredited at the United Nations
.


 

   “Time to Act on Global Mental Health”

Secretary-General of the United Nations António Guterres describes commitment of the UN to mental health within the context of the Global Goals and announces upcoming United Nations staff mental health and well-being strategy

Secretary-General of the United Nations António Guterres describes commitment of the UN to mental health within the context of the Global Goals and announces the  United Nations System Workplace Mental Health and Well-being Strategy

 Her Majesty Queen Mathilde of Belgium, SDG Advocate and a psychologist, talks via video message about the importance of mental health for all populations and its foundation within the achievement of the

 Her Majesty Queen Mathilde of Belgium, SDG Advocate and a psychologist, talks via video message about the importance of mental health for all populations and its foundation within the achievement of the
 UN Sustainable Development Goals

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization; Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health for the Government of Canada, a government that is a leader in the commitment to mental health, including financially, and about which Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has widely spoken about publicly

   Cynthia Germanotta, President, Born This Way Foundation, acknowledges that the foundation dedicated to promoting mental health was founded because her daughter, Lady Gaga, suffered from anxiety and now committed to supporting the wellness of young people and creating a kinder world

   Cynthia Germanotta making introductory remarks

Cynthia Germanotta making introductory remarks

Dr. Svetlana Akselrod, assistant director-General, Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health, World Health Organization

Dr. Svetlana Akselrod, assistant director-General, Noncommunicable Diseases
and Mental Health, World Health Organization

      Dr. Waleed Khalifa AlManea, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Health for the Kingdom of Bahrain, describing his country’s commitment to mental health and well-being

  Dr. Waleed Khalifa AlManea, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Health for the Kingdom of Bahrain, describing his country’s commitment to mental health
 and well-being

 The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health for the Government of Canada, describing the government of Canada’s commitment
 to mental health

Dr. Judy Kuriansky, H.E. Ambassador Dr. Toshiya Hoshino, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Mission of Japan
   Dr. Judy Kuriansky, H.E. Ambassador Dr. Toshiya Hoshino, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Mission of Japan to the United Nations who outlined Japan’s commitment to mental health; Russell Daisey, UN NGO representative of the International Association of Applied Psychology
Ambassador Michael Grant

 Ambassador Michael Grant, fmr. Deputy Permanent Representative of the Mission of Canada to the United Nations and co-chair of the Group of Friends of Mental Health
 and Well-being;
Dr. Judy Kuriansky; Patricio Marquez,
lead Public Health Specialist, World Bank

 Pierre-David Jean, Diplomat, Permanent Mission of Canada

Pierre-David Jean, Diplomat, Permanent Mission of Canada to the United Nations

Dr. Saxena Shekhar, Visiting Professor of Global Mental Health.

Dr. Saxena Shekhar, Visiting Professor of Global Mental Health. Department of Global Health and Population. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and Patricio Marquez, lead Public Health Specialist, World Bank

 Dr. Raghu Appasani, Founder, The MINDS Foundation and moderator of a panel

 Dr. Raghu Appasani, Founder, The MINDS Foundation
and moderator of a panel

   H.E. Ambassador Lois M. Young,
   H.E. Ambassador Lois M. Young, Permanent Representative of Belize to the United Nations and Dr. Judy Kuriansky, describing the history of the successful inclusion of mental health and well-being in the UN Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development as a partnership with H.E. Dr. Caleb Otto, fmr. Ambassador of the Republic of Palau to the UN, and the history of the Group of Friends of Mental Health and Well-being
In row behind: IAAP Youth Representatives
& Dr. Kuriansky's student interns KHawla NasserAl Deen (right) and Emma Wookey
 
 Sitawa Wafula, mental health crusader, Aspen New Voices Fellow with the Aspen Institute, USA, and non-communicable disease champion under the Ministry of Health in her home country, Kenya, who uses her personal journey as a rape survivor living with a dual diagnosis of epilepsy and bipolar disorder to provide people in Africa with information and support to handle mental health conditions and deal with everyday life.

  Sitawa Wafula, mental health crusader, Aspen New Voices Fellow with the Aspen Institute, USA, and non-communicable disease champion under the Ministry of Health in her home country, Kenya, who uses her personal journey as a rape survivor living with a dual diagnosis of epilepsy and bipolar disorder to provide people in Africa with information and support to handle mental health conditions and deal with everyday life.

Dr Judy with Alejandro Posse, Alternate Representative and Chief of Staff to the Permanent Mission of Panama to the United Nation

.      Dr Judy with Alejandro Posse, Alternate Representative and Chief of Staff to the Permanent Mission of Panama to the United Nations

    Dr. David Nabarro,

    Dr. David Nabarro, fmr. Special Adviser to the United Nations Secretary-General on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Climate Change, and Special Envoy of the Secretary-General on Ebola.

Christopher Egerton-Warburton, Partner, Lion’s Head Global Partners

Christopher Egerton-Warburton, Partner, Lion’s Head Global Partners,
Financial Advisors to United for Mental Health

 Dr. Sonia Suchday, Professor of Psychology and Department Chair, Pace University and UN NGO representative of the International Union of Psychological Sciences, and Dr. Rachel Ravich,

   Psychologists and NGO representatives to the UN and members of the Psychology Coalition of NGOs accredited at the United Nations, a co-sponsor of the event
(left to right): Dr. Sonia Suchday, Professor of Psychology and Department Chair, Pace University and UN NGO representative of the International Union of Psychological Sciences, and Dr. Rachel Ravich, UN NGO
.

Cynthia Germotta;

Panel 1 (left to right):  
Co-moderator Cynthia Germotta; Dominique Hyde, Director for Strategic Engagement in the External Relations cluster of WHO, (in Dr. Tedros’ seat after his presentation); Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health for the Government of Canada; Sigrid Kaag, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, calls for greater action for mental health in conflict/post conflict;
Maggie De Block, Minister of Heath for the Kingdom of Belgium, discusses the importance of community mental health care and the experience of her country, Belgium; Maria Veronica Espinosa, Minister of Public Health of Ecuador describes the importance of mental health in achieving universal health coverage; Dr. Waleed Khalifa AlManea, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Health for the Kingdom of Bahrain, describing his country’s commitment to mental health and well-being, and co-moderator Dr. Appasani

 Bahrain's Minister Waleed AlManea

(In lower right hand corner) Bahrain's Minister Waleed AlManea hugs Dr. Judy in response to her closing statements expressing appreciation for the event and progress in showcasing mental health and inviting the audience to cheer and to hug each other.

 Elisha London, personally committed to helping others as she was once helped, reflects on the 135 white roses handed out to the attendees, symbolizing the number of people that will die of suicide during the course of the event, as a lead-in to outline why now is the time for a united movement
 Elisha London, personally committed to helping others as she was once helped, reflects on the 135 white roses handed out to the attendees, symbolizing the number of people that will die of suicide during the course of the event, as a lead-in to outline
why now is the time for a united movement on mental health. 
Cynthia Germanotta
Panel 2,
Leaders in public mental health as well as people with lived experience, to discuss solutions that are working and what needs to happen next (left to right): Moderator Cynthia Germanotta and panelists Dr. Tim Evans, Senior Director of Health, Nutrition and Population at the World Bank Group; Sitawa Wafula; Dr. Saxena Shekhar; Craig Mokhiber, Deputy to the Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights discusses the importance of mental health and human rights; and Emma McCann, Youth Engagement Facilitator at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto Canada and Canada Youth Advocate sharing about her suffering from anxiety and emphasizing the importance of overcoming stigma
 about mental problems
(Right to left): Dr. Walter Reichman, Main ECOSOC NGO representative of the International Association of Applied Psychology; Dr. Mohammed Nurhussein, Chairman, United African Congress; Dr. Monica Sweeney, Chair, Department of Health Policy and Management and Vice Dean for Global Engagement, School of Public Health, SUNY Downstate Medical Center; and Dr. Judy Kuriansky
Dr. Shariha Khalid Erichsen, Managing partner of Mission and Co, Malaysia, +SocialGood Connector and Global Good Fund Ambassador and Dr. Judy, who were on the winning team for their proposal in Goal 3, Good Health and Well-being, in the “SDGs in Action” competition for innovation at
Dr. Shariha Khalid Erichsen, Managing partner of Mission and Co, Malaysia, +SocialGood Connector and Global Good Fund Ambassador and Dr. Judy, who were on the winning team for their proposal in Goal 3, Good Health and Well-being, in the “SDGs in Action” competition for innovation at
the World Government Summit  in Dubai
  Sarah Kline, Deputy CEO and Kel Currah, advocacy lead, United for Global Mental Health graciously greeting the enthusiastic attendees

  Sarah Kline, Deputy CEO and Kel Currah, advocacy lead, United for Global Mental Health graciously greeting the enthusiastic attendees

Graduate students of psychology, Columbia University Teachers College who took Dr. Judy’s class in “Psychology and the United Nations: Yves Augustin, Clint Hougen and Emma Wookey, with Pierre-David Jean, Khawla Nasser AlDeen, youth representative of the International Association of Applied Psychology

 Graduate students in Dr. Judy’s class on“Psychology and the United Nations”at Columbia University Teachers College (left to right): Yves Augustin, Clint Hougen and Emma Wookey with Pierre-David Jean, IAAP youth representative Khawla Nasser AlDeen
and IAAP representative Russell Daisey

 
 
 

 

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