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Health Innovation

World Mental Heath Congress 2019

  • Rahina Damji
  • |
  • Dec 16, 2019
World Mental Heath Congress 2019

From November 5-8, Lisa Bitacola had the privilege of presenting to delegates at the 2019 World Mental Health Congress in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on behalf of the Ivey Health Team. With the theme of "Inclusive Approaches in Mental Health. Clinic, Community and Rights", the Congress aimed to create a space for delegates to share and learn from mental health practices that are rooted in both a community health and clinical practice. With delegates in attendance from over 65 countries, the conference presented a unique opportunity to share knowledge across geographies and languages. The ongoing conversation enabled delegates to gain a unique understanding of the opportunities and challenges that exist for mental healthcare globally and reflect on these in the context of their own projects and research.

Ivey Health was thrilled to add to the discussion by presenting on their recent efforts to coordinate the mental health and addictions (MH&A) services in London-Middlesex in partnership with the London Community Foundation and the City of London. These projects have worked to analyze the coordination between existing MH&A programs in London using a social network analysis, enabling us to identify the fragmentation in the current system and isolate opportunities to improve provider experience and patient care. We have identified the need to increase coordination through implementing a system-wide governance framework and formalized communication channels between MH&A service providers in London, Ontario. When presenting these projects at the Congress, we emphasized the importance of creating a network of services to reduce gaps in patient flow through the MH&A system and increase collaboration, focus and strategic alignment between existing services.

The opportunity to hear from and present to global leaders in the mental health space was an eye-opening experience for our team. We noted where Canada is a leader in our mental health practices and where we can learn from and integrate elements of mental healthcare from other countries. A theme that stood out at the Congress was the vast amount of countries focused on incorporating self-compassion and mindfulness into mental health practices across the globe. Overall, these key takeaways demonstrate the value of remaining engaged in the global mental health discussion and continuously reflecting on and recognizing opportunities within our current practices.