Report on Mental Health For All - Connecting People And Sharing Experience

An abridged letter from Prof Gabby Ivbijaro on the recent conference held in Lille France 28-30 April 2015

First of all I would like to say thank you to Job Metsemakers, President of WONCA Europe (pictured speaking at right); Igor Svab, Past President of WONCA Europe; Mike Pringle, President of RCGP; Luis Galvez, Chair of WONCA Working Party on Mental Health; as well as Abdullah Al-Khathami, Christopher Dowrick, Sandra Fortes, Lucja Kolkiewicz, Juan Mendive, Jill Benson, Nabil Kurashi, Christos Lionis and Henk Parmentier and each and every WONCA member who attended or provided encouragement and support for the Lille Conference, Mental Health for All - Connecting People and Sharing Experience. Special thanks to Professor Michael Kidd, Amanda Howe and Karen Flegg for their support for mental health and my new role as President Elect of WFMH.

I was particularly pleased that our global gift to the world, The Lille Declaration -The World Dignity Project, has been well received and that Instagram and Twitter have been busy.

As you know, addressing mental health stigma and raising awareness is not just a one day annual event but an everyday activity that requires each and every one of us to play our part.

To make mental health an everyday consideration World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH) initiated 'The World Dignity Project' which was officially launched on 30 April 2015 at Mental Health for All - Connecting People and Sharing Experience in Lille, France.

We see this project as compatible with WONCA values and objectives and it also contributes to the objectives of the WHO’s Comprehensive Mental Health Action Plan 2013-2020 and, more specifically, with the responsibilities of national and international partners in the Plan.

Our French Partners, WONCA, WFMH and other Colleges did us proud and each and every one of the French Partner Organisations were well represented. We received a personal letter of support from François Hollande, President of France, and are very grateful for this invaluable support from the President. Many institutions (including WONCA) also provided their support by sending representatives. We also had a broad range of individual participants including professionals from a variety of backgrounds, service users, families, carers, peers and students and some photographs of participants can be seen here.

Each and every participant was pleased with the science, the sharing of experience and opportunity to meet other people who brought their differing perspectives to enrich day to day practice and the crowning event of this successful meeting was the Lille Declaration – The World Dignity Project.

The Lille Declaration – The World Dignity Project, is a gift to the world. Mental health should be acknowledged as part of everyday life and this was the beginning of our journey to bring one million people together to become Foundation Members of the World Dignity Project.

Please go to the website watch the video, sign up and encourage others to sign up. Plan dignity events and showcase the symbol – use it.

Symptoms are not a barrier to recovery – but attitude is. Let's fight stigma.


Professor Gabriel Ivbijaro MBE, MBBS, FRCGP, FWACPsych, MMedSci, MA
President Elect WFMH (World Federation for Mental Health)
Immediate Past Chair, WONCA Working Party on Mental Health