Leadership of Mental Health: A roundtable meeting by world leaders in Warsaw

During the IX Annual Ukrainian Psychiatric Association International Conference, the world’s psychiatric leaders joined their Ukrainian colleagues in Warsaw at a meeting chaired by Professor Irina Pinchuk, Vice President of the Ukrainian Psychiatric Association. This special roundtable session was organised on the topic of “Leadership of Mental Health,” largely in the context of the current crisis in Ukraine.

This was roundtable discussion attended by presidents and representatives of the World Psychiatric Association (WPA) (Prof. Afzal Javed, President and Prof. Danuta Wasserman, President-Elect), European Psychiatric Association (EPA) (Prof. Geert Dom), as well as national psychiatric associations from: USA (Prof. Rebecca Brendel), Poland (Prof. Dominika Dudek), Moldova (Prof. Jana Chihai), France (Prof. Isabelle Secret Bobolakis), Germany (Prof. Andreas Meyer-Lindenberg; Prof. Hartmut Berger ), Belgium (Prof. Kirsten Catthoor), Georgia (Prof. Eka Chkonia), Czech Republic (Prof. Pavel Mohr), Australia (Prof. Vinay Lakra), Belgium (Prof. Kirsten Catthoor), Hungary (Prof. György Szekeres), Israel (Prof. Marina Kupchik), Japan (Prof. Tsuyoshi Akiyama), Norway (Prof. Lars Lien), Switzerland (Prof. Erich Seifritz), Poland (Prof. Dominika Dudek) and Ukraine (Prof. Irina Pinchuk).

The meeting started with Prof. Irina Pinchuk giving a keynote address about the current situation in Ukraine. Prof. Afzal Javed, President WPA welcomed the participants and greeted them on behalf of WPA and its membership. Prof. Javed offered “continuous support, solidarity, and assistance” to the Ukrainian colleagues and stated his commitment to “supporting and rebuilding mental health services in collaboration with our Ukraine professionals”. Prof. Geert Dom, President-Elect, EPA also expressed his support for colleagues in Ukraine as did all presidents and officers of national societies.

In addition, the Lancet Psychiatry editor invited Prof. Pinchuk to join the editorial board of Lancet Psychiatry. Prof. Norbert Skokauskas chaired the roundtable meeting and Prof. Bennet Leventhal provided a meeting summary.

The IX Annual Ukrainian Psychiatric Association International Conference was organised by the Ukrainian Psychiatric Association; World Psychiatric Association; Institute of Psychiatry of the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv; Charitable foundation research innovations in medicine “RIMON”; and Projects Inn, LLC Professional Congress Organiser. Polish Psychiatric Association also assisted in terms of the logistics and local support. On the anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, these international leaders in mental health expressed their concerns over the conflict in the region and agreed to work together to identify services and resources to support the many children, adolescents, and families that have been affected by the subsequent atrocities. This war has made 14.4 million people refugees (35% of the Ukrainian population), about half of whom have left Ukraine. These refugees include an estimated 5 million children, many of whom are unaccompanied or separated from their families.

The assembled leaders addressed this human catastrophe by offering their continued support for the Ukrainian people and mental health colleagues and collaborating in order best manage the overwhelming mental health needs, including the massive trauma facing the Ukrainian victims of this horrific and ongoing war. Professor Pinchuk reaffirmed Ukraine’s desire to work together with these distinguished world leaders in mental health to get much-needed support in the training and delivery of these services.

With the theme, “The Price of Peace in Our Time,” the conference was held in a hybrid format with in-person sessions in Warsaw, Poland and online worldwide. Of special note, the meeting began on the 24th of February 2023, which was the Anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. More than one hundred delegates attended the conference in person (117) with many more on-line (362). Participants came from four different continents, included 22 countries and held a wide variety of presentations from 64 speakers. A special part of the conference included an exhibition of 12 work’s of art by Ukrainian children that were selected from hundreds of pictures drawn by children from the frontline regions of Ukraine as well as two extraordinary social photo exhibitions under the titles: “Patriotic posters for the Ukrainian Army” and “Code of the Nation”.

Джерело: WPA