Mental Health Bulletin from Chris Dowrick

Professor Christopher Dowrick, chair of the WONCA Working Party on Mental Health writes:

Dear colleagues,

Thanks to everyone who has been involved in the recent discussion of mental health competencies of family doctors. This is so important, not only in those many countries where we are the main (if not only) source of expert help for our patients, but also in those countries where we do have access to specialist care. It is at the heart of what I believe our Working Party needs to do:  enhance the knowledge, skills and confidence of family doctors in diagnosing and managing common mental health problems, and where possible build closer and more effective working relationships with our mental health specialist colleagues.   
So it is good to be reminded of examples of valuable work in these areas, as well as what still needs to be done:
• Joseph Ariba (Nigeria), our Africa Vice-Chair, is planning a primary mental health care training programme across  Africa, and already has expressions of interest from more than 80 family doctors.  We will be pleased to support him in this important project.
• We maintain our efforts to continue and expand our advocacy programme for young family doctors. 
• In the UK, there are promising plans for policy engagement between our Royal Colleges of General Practice and Psychiatry, co-chaired our own Amanda Howe and by Linda Gask.
We are working closely with Maria van den Muijsenbergh (Netherlands) and members of the WONCA Migrant Care Special Interest Group, to provide information for family doctors who are caring for the mental health of migrants.  Thanks to Jill Benson, we now have an exciting opportunity to create a webinar and podcast on this topic, in collaboration with the Black Dog Institute in Australia  see:
The World Health Organisation is updating its very influential mhGAP Intervention Guide. I have been invited to join the Topic Expert Group on ‘other significant emotional and unexplained somatic complaints’. Next month I am also taking part in a WHO consultation workshop on the public health importance of Parkinson’s Disease.
And in our quest to combine music and mental health, I understand from Alfredo de Olivera Neto (Brazil) that the WONCA video version of the Beatle’s Here Comes the Sun is nearly complete.  I can’t wait to see it!
With my best wishes to you all