A special UW and The Lancet event on Oct. 19 at Kane Hall, UW Seattle, will explore sustainable development and global mental health.
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A special UW and The Lancet event on October 19 in Seattle will explore sustainable development and global mental health.

The Lancet has assembled leaders from around the world to prepare a Commission on Global Mental Health and Sustainable Development published on World Mental Health Day on October 10. Launch events for the Commission are planned around the world, including an event in Seattle, sponsored by the UW Global Mental Health Program (a joint program of the UW Departments of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Global Health) and the UW Population Health Initiative. Authors of the Commission include Pamela Collins, Director of the UW Global Mental Health Program, and Jürgen Unützer, Chair of the UW Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences .

Sustainable Development and Global Mental Health

Mental disorders, as a group, are the largest contributor to years of life lived with disability. They undermine care for other health problems and have persistently high rates of excess and premature mortality. Their impact extends beyond the clinic or the hospital to families and communities. Their effect on economic productivity alone makes clear that preventing and treating these conditions is critical for sustainable development; yet, nowhere in the world is investment in mental health proportionate to the burden of these disorders.

The Commission on Global Mental Health and Sustainable Development is guided by four principles. First, the Commission adopts a dimensional approach recognizes the mental health needs of the general population alongside those of people with clinically significant disorders. Second, it adopts a life course and intergenerational approach—risk factors from before conception to old age can affect mental health. Third, the Commission demonstrates that mental health is central to the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals. Fourth, the scope is global: all countries must take action to address mental health equity and justice.

Global Action on Mental Health Event in Seattle

Join us for the Seattle launch event:

When: October 19, 2-6 p.m.

Where: Kane Hall 225, UW Seattle

Register to attend the event: 

Watch the video:


The event will be opened with remarks from UW President Ana Mari Cauce.

The keynote address will be given by Shekhar Saxena, a Visiting Professor at Harvard T H Chan School of Public Health. He is a psychiatrist by training, and prior to his current position worked at the World Health Organization in Geneva for 20 years, where he served as the Director of the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse from 2010 to 2018.  


2:00 – 2:40 p.m. Welcome 

  • Ana Mari Cauce, UW President ; Pamela Collins, UW Global Mental Health; Christopher J. L. Murray, Department of Health Metrics Sciences; Jürgen Unützer, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences; Judith Wasserheit, Department of Global Health

2:40 – 3:20 p.m. Plenary – Mental Health and Sustainable Development: Highlights from the Lancet Commission on Global Mental Health and Sustainable Development

  • Introduction: Elisha London, United for Global Mental Health
  • Speaker: Shekhar Saxena, Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health

3:20 – 4:10 p.m. Panel 1 –  Boots on the Ground: Achieving Sustainable Development and Mental Health 

  • Moderator: Jürgen Unützer, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences  
  • Speakers: Janice Cooper, Carter Center Liberia Mental Health Program; Simon Njuguna, Ministry of Health, Kenya; Chitra Hanstad, World Relief Seattle; Brad Wagenaar, UW; Shekhar Saxena, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

4:10 – 4:20 p.m. Break

4:20 – 5:10 p.m. Panel 2 – Managing Epidemics: The Role of Mental Health in Combating Communicable and Non-communicable Diseases  

  • Moderator: Ali Mokdad, IHME, Population Health Initiative and Department of Health Metrics Sciences
  • Speakers: Rachel Nugent, RTI International; Deepa Rao, UW; Lydia Chwastiak, UW; Roman Xu, Sun Yat Sen University

5:10 – 5:55 p.m. Panel 3 – Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies, Healthy Aging: Mental Health for Global Health Across the Life Course

  • Moderator: Ada Williams Prince, Pivotal Ventures
  • Speakers: Amritha Bhat, UW; Judd Walson, UW; Grace John Stewart, UW; Janelle Taylor, UW

5:55 – 6:00 p.m. Closing Remarks

Speakers include:

Janice Cooper is Country Representative for Health for the Carter Center in Liberia and Program Lead for the Mental Health Program. She oversees a national training, policy and support program to expand capacity for mental health services delivery.


Simon Njuguna Kahonge is Director of Mental Health at the Ministry of Health in Kenya; Secretary and Chief Executive officer to Kenya Board of Mental Health. Dr. Simon leads implementation of the Kenya mental health policy 2015-2030 with a goal of attaining the highest standards of mental health. 


Chitra Hanstad serves as the Executive Director for World Relief Seattle, the largest refugee resettlement and services agency in Washington State. Chitra recently returned from India, where she spent the last year consulting for Justice Ventures International, working on anti-human trafficking campaigns, strategic planning and fund development. 


Elisha London is CEO, United for Global Mental Health, and founded The Global Poverty Project in the UK. Realizing the need for a global mental health campaign, she brought together advocacy and campaigning experts to establish the Global Campaign for Mental Health. 


Christopher J.L. Murray is Chair, Department of Health Metrics Sciences at UW.  A physician and health economist, Professor Murray’s work has led to the development of new methods and empirical studies to strengthen health measurement, analyze the performance of public health and medical care systems, and assess the cost-effectiveness of health technologies.


Dong (Roman) Xu is Executive Deputy Director and Research Professor of the Sun Yat-sen Global Health Institute, Sun Yat-sen University. His research focuses on health system innovations. He is leading a large study of the quality of primary health care in seven provinces of China, with standardized and smartphone-based virtual patients. 



Pamela Collins, Director, UW Global Mental Health Program

Jürgen Unützer, Chair, UW Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Judith Wasserheit, Chair, UW Department of Global Health

Brad Wagenaar, Assistant Professor, UW Department of Global Health

Theo Vos, Professor, UW Department of Health Metrics Sciences

Rachel Nugent, Vice President, Global Noncommunicable Diseases, RTI International

Deepa Rao, Associate Director, UW Global Mental Health Program

Lydia Chwastiak, Adjunct Associate Professor, UW Department of Global Health; Associate Professor, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Amritha Bhat, Perinatal psychiatrist; Acting Assistant Professor, UW Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Judd Walson, Professor, UW Department of Global Health

Grace John-Stewart, Professor, UW Department of Global Health

Janelle Taylor, Professor, UW Department of Anthropology

Ada Williams Prince leads program strategy on adolescent mental health at Pivotal Ventures. Prior to joining Pivotal, Ada was a Program Officer for the Marguerite Casey Foundation in Seattle.  Before working with the MCF, Ada was the Director of Special Projects for OneAmerica, where she directed their women's rights policy program. Ada worked with the Women's Refugee Commission in New York, the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Survivors in Brussels, and for Concern Worldwide, Plan International UK and Save the Children, London. 

The event is free and open to the public, but seating is limited and will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. To request disability accommodations, please contact the Disability Services Office at 206-543-6450 (voice), 206-543-6452 (TTY), 206-543-7264 (fax) or, preferably at least 10 days in advance of the event.

The event will be live streamed here, and a full video will be available after the event here.

More information:

  • Tessa Concepcion, UW Global Mental Health Program, Research Coordinator, phone 206.221.3828,

Media inquiries: 

  • Bobbi Nodell, Media Relations, UW Medicine Strategic Marketing & Communications, work: 206.543.7129, cell: 206.482.7868, email

Event flyer

Location map and parking


A related event - The Global Mental Health Meet & Greet - is open to UW students, faculty, and staff : 
When: October 18, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.
Where: South Campus Center, 3rd floor lobby
Event description: UW Global Mental Health is hosting its first International External Advisory Board meeting with thought leaders from around the world. Please join us as we welcome them to Seattle and to our new program. We invite you to learn more about UW Global Mental Health and to interact with global mental health leaders at UW and beyond! UW students, faculty, and staff are welcome. 

Event flyer: The Global Mental Health Meet & Greet