Mental Health in Africa: Innovation and Investment



9:00 am - 7:00 pm


Wellcome Trust, 215 Euston Road, London, NW1 2BE



Organised by the Royal African Society and the Centre for Global Mental Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, with support from the Wellcome Trust, this landmark conference aims to highlight current innovations shaping mental healthcare in Africa today and develop a practical roadmap to work towards the continent achieving the goals of the World Health Organization’s Mental Health Action Plan.

Mental health has historically been neglected on health and development policy agendas, both by donors and African governments. But over the last decade, interest and opinions have shifted globally and in Africa. Most African countries have now adopted mental health policies and innovations are emerging from the continent, which have much to offer the rest of the world. However, there is still a major investment gap that must be addressed.

Investing in mental health is crucial for attaining the Sustainable Development Goals. Evidence shows that improved mental health provision can have significant benefits for social and economic development. For every dollar invested in care for depression and anxiety, there is a $5.70 return on economic and health benefits.

This conference will bring together researchers, practitioners, innovators, policy-makers, government officials, private sector representatives and wider members of the public to discuss progress made to date against the WHO’s Mental Health Action Plan and deliver a set of key priorities for Africa, with a view to strengthening the continental and international response to the gaps identified.

The priorities will then be discussed at a high-level roundtable the next morning, which will seek specific commitments from donors, policy-makers, government and regional bodies working on mental health in Africa.


Confirmed speakers include:


Prof Miranda Wolpert, Head of Mental Health Priority Area Wellcome Trust

Dr Mary De Silva, Head of Population Health, Wellcome Trust

Dr Florence Baingana, Non-communicable Diseases Cluster, World Health Organisation’s Regional Office for Africa

Prof Olayinka Omigbodun, Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Ibadan  Grace Gatera, Youth Advocate, Young Leaders for The Lancet Commission on Mental Health and Sustainable Development

Dr Mohammed Abdulaziz, Principal Medical Epidemiologist, Africa Union’s Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention

Dr Victoria Mutiso, Principal Investigator, Africa Mental Health Foundation

Prof Stanley Okolo, Secretary General, West Africa Health Organisation

Dr Victor Ugo, Founder, Mentally Aware Nigeria Initiative

Dr Melanie Abas, Professor, Global Mental Health / Consultant Psychiatrist Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College London/ London Centre for Anxiety Disorders and Trauma

Prof Crick Lund, Professor of Global Mental Health and Development, University of Cape Town/King’s IoP CGMH

Prof Abiodun Adewuya, Executive Director CEMHRI/Professor of Public Mental Health, Lagos State University

Prof Arouna Ouedraogo, Professor of Psychiatry, Francophone MH Association

Anna Kydd, Director, The SHM Foundation

Grace Gatera, Communications Officer /Young Leader Partners In Health Rwanda, Lancet Commission on Mental Health and Sustainable Development

Maggie Marx, Communications Coordinator and Research officer, Health System Strengthening in Sub-Saharan Africa (ASSET) Alan J Flisher Centre for Public Mental Health (CPMH) University of Cape Town (UCT)

Joshua Duncan, Programmes Manager, Mental Health Coalition of Sierra Leone

Ephiphania Munetsi, Project Coordinator,  Friendship Bench


The event is now sold out, but you can follow the proceedings on Twitter and Facebook Livestream

View Conference Programme



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