World Federation of Mental Health Board Meeting
London, September 2002
Sylvia Caras, PhD
20 board members and staff assembled in a meeting room at the Royal College of Psychiatry. Preston J Garrison is the new WFMH Secretary General/Chief Executive Officer. (He grew up with a parent with a mental illness, and is a former NMHA CEO. His goals are to protect the WFMH's greatest asset, its brand; to improve communication/marketing; and to increase membership. He would also like to see WFMH have its own location and is up to the challenge of the fund-raising required to accomplish these goals.
The 2003 theme for World Mental Health Day will be children and mental health. Board members expressed concern that the emphasis be on health not illness and psycho-social not pharmaceutical.
The President-Elect wants WFMH to work in coalition with NAMI. Overheard: NAMI, under Birkel's leadership, is going international.
Two resolutions from Vancouver that had been referred to the Board, about the WHO template and about forced treatment were tabled because the executive committee had not reviewed them and had no recommendations yet. They may be on the Melbourne agenda.
On October 4 WHO is releasing a report on mental health and violence.
WFMH has created a Consumer/Carer Advisory Group. Nominees will be submitted by the Regional Vice-Presidents and the group will have one member per region, the consumers and carers who are on the board, and be 60:40 consumer:carer. Appointments will be made soon. Until February, I will be the North American representative and Janet Meagher and Tony Fowke will represent the Oceania region.
WFMH has changed its process of receiving resolutions which now must be submitted, through a Voting Member, at least 110 days in advance on the General Assembly. Resolutions may also go through the WFMH CAG. The only way to put a resolution forward at short notice would be to the amend the agenda (requiring a 2/3 vote) or to invoke a "special circumstance" (but I wouldn't hold out hope for this strategy).
The board passed resolutions supporting the UN Convention and supporting investigating the Chinese psychiatric interventions on the Falun Gong practitioners.