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Table of Contents
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 70-71

The World Psychiatric Association Applauds the WASP Position Statement on the COVID-19 Pandemic

President, World Psychiatric Association; Orygen and Centre for Youth Mental Health, The University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Date of Submission10-Jun-2020
Date of Acceptance14-Jun-2020
Date of Web Publication14-Aug-2020

Correspondence Address:
Prof. Helen Herrman
Orygen and Centre for Youth Mental Health, The University of Melbourne, Victoria
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/WSP.WSP_58_20

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How to cite this article:
Herrman H. The World Psychiatric Association Applauds the WASP Position Statement on the COVID-19 Pandemic. World Soc Psychiatry 2020;2:70-1

How to cite this URL:
Herrman H. The World Psychiatric Association Applauds the WASP Position Statement on the COVID-19 Pandemic. World Soc Psychiatry [serial online] 2020 [cited 2023 May 31];2:70-1. Available from: https://www.worldsocpsychiatry.org/text.asp?2020/2/2/70/292145

This statement is a humane expression of concern for all affected by the pandemic. It supports the use of evidence in making rational decisions. It also advocates responding to the emergency in a way consistent with the mandate of the World Association of Social Psychiatry (WASP) and contemporary social psychiatry: alert to the social determinants of mental health and to the importance of social relationships in the genesis of and recovery from mental ill-health.[1],[2] The statement is clear that WASP wishes to work with partners in the health professions and voluntary sectors, to support mental health in the world community and to enhance access to mental health care and psychosocial support for those in need.

The World Psychiatric Association (WPA) welcomes this statement and joins the call from WASP for support and action based on the principles of social psychiatry. It is vital that mental health professionals work together and with our partners in health, civil society, and governments to address the mental health implications of COVID-19 and find ways to share insights and experiences with each other.

In the case of WPA, we remain committed to supporting psychiatrists as they work with health and mental health professionals and communities worldwide. WPA's role as a point of communication and coordination for member societies becomes more important than ever in times of emergency, and is essential to developing collective action. Stimulating collective action for mutual support, especially with those who have scarce resources and grave needs, is the focus at this time of emergency. Vital to achieving success in these efforts is working with colleagues in social psychiatry, including those who contribute to WPA's member societies and scientific sections.

WPA's online library of COVID-19 mental health resources, cross-linked with the resources on the WASP site, provides access to the resources curated by many of the WPA member societies and trusted partners. It includes information in a variety of languages and is targeted toward a variety of audiences. A searchable index will be available soon.

The WPA Standing Committee on Ethics and Review prepared the position paper “Psychiatry and the Covid-19 Pandemic.” It is a resource for psychiatrists to use with governments and community groups to advocate for the importance of continuing care for people with mental illness. It aims to help to ensure these groups receive the care they need, and addresses restoration and enhancement of treatment and care for people with mental illness.

The WPA education portal is in accelerated development to allow WPA to deliver a range of courses through a Learning Management System – the first of which will focus on supporting psychiatrists as many of them use e-mental health tools for the first time. In addition to launching a number of new education and training modules related to emergencies like the COVID-19 pandemic, the new portal will house WPA's existing training materials, including the WPA International Competency-Based Curriculum for Mental Health Providers on Intimate Partner Violence and Sexual Violence against Women, available in several languages from the WPA website.[3] WPA has established an Advisory Committee for Response to Emergencies. It will oversee WPA's efforts to provide immediate assistance to countries in need, as well as the work of several expert groups focused on priority topics such as the collection and organization of information about the COVID-19 emergency; education coordination; e-mental health; mental health services (hospitals, community services, homeless, and other vulnerable populations); and research and evaluation. The Committee is made up of representatives from WPA's larger member societies, particularly those with regional influence and a variety of resources at their disposal. It will assist the WPA in gathering and sharing expertise between member societies and, most importantly, help provide concrete and practical support to member societies in grave situations as the result of an emergency (such as COVID-19). Through this initiative, WPA has already provided funding to colleagues in Nepal to assist with extra outreach services needed to support child and adolescent mental health during the pandemic and is helping to provide protective equipment where there is very little in other parts of the world. We anticipate the Committee will assist with the collection of educational material and data that can be used in dealing with the mental health consequences of emergency situations help to organize and conduct educational activities related to dealing with these, and participate in the development of local, national, and international strategies to cope with mental health consequences of emergencies.

The WASP position statement is a timely reminder of the enduring principles of social psychiatry and their current salience and above all of the power of working together with shared values and common goals.

  References Top

Craig TK. The importance of the social in psychiatry. World Soc Psychiatry 2019;1:25-6.  Back to cited text no. 1
  [Full text]  
Di Nicola V. “A person is a person through other persons”: A social psychiatry manifesto for the 21st century. World Soc Psychiatry 2019;1:8-21.  Back to cited text no. 2
  [Full text]  
Stewart DE, Chandra P. WPA international competency-based curriculum for mental health providers on intimate partner violence and sexual violence against women. World Psychiatry 2017;16:223-4.  Back to cited text no. 3


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