Mental Health and Psychosocial Working Group

The Geneva-based NGO Forum for Health has been active since the 1970s. It created the Mental Health and Psychosocial Working Group in 2009 to address policy concerns in this area.


The Mental Health and Psychosocial Working Group (MHPSWG) focuses on advocacy, equity, research, and resources for mental health, affirming that the WHO Constitution (1948) that “health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being…”. It promotes the right to health; endorses health policies that integrates objectives for mental and psychosocial wellbeing into health policies and programmes.


  • to raise awareness of mental health as a priority health issue, locally and globally;
  • to emphasize the need for prevention and quality care in mental health services/systems;
  • to confront stigma and discrimination related to mental health in all their manifestations;
  • to advocate for systematic consideration of the social determinants of health, issues of rights, gender equality, poverty, and conflict with regards to mental, physical, social and spiritual wellbeing;
  • to encourage quality mental health and psychosocial support within the humanitarian sector for those who receive services, including local and international staff

The MHPSWG works with governmental and inter-governmental health authorities, civil society organisations, business and worker organisations, academic and research institutions, and mental health service users, as well as individuals with an interest in mental health and psychosocial support.


  • consultations with international organizations in the United Nations system, specialized agencies in Geneva and New York, permanent missions of the Member States of the United Nations, ministries of health, experts in research and policy, and other concerned non-governmental organizations in the field of health;
  • partnerships and strategic exchange of views with important stakeholders, notably WHO’s Mental Health Gap Action Programme (mhGAP), the Movement for Global Mental Health, and the World Federation for Mental Health;
  • Mental Health Briefings held four times a year to provide a forum to present and discuss current mental health issues and to promote wider understanding of evidence-based mental health research and practice;
  • participation in civil society hearings on issues of mental health and psychosocial wellbeing;
  • events that highlight issues of mental health and psychosocial wellbeing on the occasion of international venues, notably the World Health Assembly, World Mental Health Day (10 October), the biennial Geneva Health Forum; and
  • website promoting materials and resources on issues of mental health and psychosocial wellbeing.

 Governance and Funding

The Mental Health and Psychosocial Working Group is coordinated by a number of the organizations affiliated to the NGO Forum for Health. The Group’s annual work plan is submitted to the NGO Forum Steering Committee. Financial resources for the activities of the Working Group are generated through proposals made to potential donors.


Membership of the Working Group is open to all members of the NGO Forum as well as other NGOs and colleagues active in the MH-PS field.