World Psychiatric Association

Support to new project development 

Every three years, the World Psychiatric Association (WPA) elects a new President. For the current period, Prof. Helen Herrman is President and so has the responsibility of leadership for the work of the association globally. Community Works has previously worked with Helen through the Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre, Orygen Youth Health and the programs of BasicNeeds.

Helen was elected for the wealth of experience and knowledge that she brings to the position of President, as well as her diplomatic and leadership qualities. Her plan is to strengthen the capacity of WPA and its membership to engage in international development initiatives that currently do not benefit from strong representation from psychiatrists. In doing so, the organisation will increase its positive impact on mental health globally. This involves promoting mental health and improving equitable access and quality of mental health care.

The Action Plan developed by Helen to guide the work of the organisation during her term provides a targeted strategy for reaching people, particularly young people, who face adversity and disadvantage. The model below summarises the key components of the Action Plan.

Community Works has played a role in bringing the Action Plan to fruition and supporting its implementation. We helped develop and present the major concepts, conducted supporting research and prepared material to attract support for the new projects. Individual objectives of the Action Plan have led to new publications and operational project work including:

  • A literature review on mental health and psychosocial support during conflict and emergencies as a key contribution to a workshop for a range of specialists from Europe, Latin America and the United States, held in Madrid
  • A concept paper on minimising coercion in mental health care, as a basis for a pilot project in this field in which the Royal Australia and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists and the Melbourne Social Equity Institute is collaborating
  • A discussion paper on strengthening community orientation in mental health, as a contribution to discussions with NGOs and health professionals in Kenya
  • The Clinic to Community publication, which describes ways in which practice transformation might be achieved in the mental health field
  • A discussion paper on effective partnerships with service users and carers, as a contribution to a new phase of work by WPA on this important subject


Community Works has supported WPA to plan and implement a range of initiatives. The underlying drive for all this work is the knowledge that the ability of the WPA to promote sustainable change depends on two main factors. The first is its capacity to collaborate successfully with other organisations. The second is its potential to engage psychiatrists in new challenges. We are pleased to contribute to such a progressive and outward-looking program of work.