WONCA President at the WPA World Congress of Psychiatry 2022

WONCA President, Dr Anna Stavdal, joined the WPA World Congress of Psychiatry 2022, which took place from August 3-6 in Bangkok, Thailand.

Over four days, the event brought together—in person and online—experts and health professionals from the broader World Psychiatric Association community, which represents 140 psychiatric societies in 120 countries.

During the second day of activities, Dr Anna Stavdal participated in the Panel Discussion: Task-sharing in mental healthcare; Does it work? Gabriel Ivbijaro, CEO of the World Federation for Mental Health and former chair of the WONCA Working Party on Mental Health, moderated the session.

Dr Stavdal wrapped up her participation with an inter-organisational symposium along with Dr Nasser Loza, President of the World Federation for Mental Health and past WPA President, Dr Juan Mezzich.

About her participation in the WPA World Congress of Psychiatry 2022, Dr Anna Stavdal wrote:

This was the second time I attended the annual conference of the World Psych Association, and the first time in person. Was it worthwhile? Indeed it was. I always find it energizing and meaningful to be an ambassador for family medicine. The WPA conference was no exception.

Mental health is high on the health policy agenda globally. Family doctors deal with patients with the diagnosis over the full spectrum of psychiatry, from so called lighter conditions of anxiety and depression to chronic conditions of all kinds: attention deficit disorders, bipolar disease, schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorders and everything in between. The group in need of chronic mental care takes up a large portion of the family doctor`s time. And in primary care based health systems, these patients receive most of their medical care from the family doctor and the primary care team, just like diagnosing and treatment are initiated on the same level.

Despite that, there are silos in mental care in many systems. The only way to overcome them is to learn to know how we can collaborate over the speciality boundaries.

I met with president Afzal Javed, President-Elect Danuta Wassermann, and several other key people of WPA. And I gave presentations at two panel discussions.   

Besides experiencing an open-minded and welcoming professional environment, we reached an agreement to formalise the collaboration between our two organisations and the World Federation of Mental Health (WFMH). Our CEO will follow up with concrete actions.

Prof. Afzal Javed, President WPA and
Dr Danuta Wasserman, President Elect of WPA