An voluntary International Advisory Board oversees the Movement’s activities and is responsible for its strategic direction. This Board was initially formed for the 2007 Lancet series on global mental health, and membership on the Advisory Group changes over time.

The International Advisory Board is appointed by the Principal Coordinator and are individuals with expertise (both or either by profession or lived experience) in global mental health or specific specialities in the field.


Profiles of International Advisory Board members:

  • The composition of the MGMH International Advisory Board should consist of no less than 40% mental health care users/ persons with lived experience
  • The composition of the MGMH International Advisory Board should consider diversity in terms of representation by race, gender, demographics and across geographies
  • The number of members of the International Advisory Board is determined by the Principal Coordinator, but recommended to not exceed a total of 30 members
  • Are fluent in the English language
  • Have extensive expertise in mental health and/or human rights, or are experts by experience
  • Are passionate and dedicated to the cause of global mental health and improving the quality of life of all persons living with mental health problems and mental disorders worldwide


Key Role of the International Advisory Board Members

  • Serve in an advisory capacity to the Principal Coordinator
  • Provide guidance for the further development and sustainability of the MGMH and to ensure that the MGMH achieve its objectives
  • Promote the MGMH and recruit members
  • Provide assistance with email enquiries as and when required by the Principal Coordinator or the volunteers assisting with enquiries
  • Assist in sourcing content for the MGMH website, newsletter and social media
  • Assist in raising funds towards the MGMH activities and in particular the hosting of the biennial Global Mental Health Summit
  • Collectively make key decisions related to the MGMH, where such decisions involve, e.g. the formation of formal partnerships, funding sources, location of the biennial Global Mental Health Summit, appointment of a new Principal Coordinator and Secretariat, etc


International Advisory Board Members (March 2017 – February 2020)



Ms Sunkel is a global voice for the rights of people with mental health conditions/ lived experience. She’s been working in the field of mental health, advocacy and human rights since 2003. She authored several papers from a lived experience perspective published in well renowned international medical journals. She has written and produced theatre plays and a short feature film on mental disorders – to raise public awareness. Ms Sunkel had been involved in the review and drafting of various policies and legislation in South Africa and provided technical assistance to international mental health related reports and documents. She serves on a number of national and international boards and committees, including: Presidential Working Group on Disability; Ministerial Advisory Committee on Mental Health; Rural Mental Health Campaign; Editorial Advisory Board of the Lancet Psychiatry; Mental Health and Human Rights FGIP; Time To Change Global Governance Group; citiesRISE; WHO Civil Society Working Group on NCDs; Global Mental Health Blueprint Group; Countdown Mental Health, amongst others. Ms Sunkel is the Principal Coordinator for the Movement for Global Mental Health. She is the Founder/ CEO of the Global Mental Health Peer Network which was officially launched at the 5th Global Mental Health Summit in 2018. She is also a faculty member of the Indian Law College as guest lecturer for the International Diploma in Mental Health, Human Rights and Law. Ms Sunkel was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 1991 which led to her passion for mental health advocacy and human rights, where she received a number of national and international awards for her work, with the latest award for Outstanding Achievement in Mental Health from the Swiss Foundation and the World Health Organisation.




Vikram Patel is the Pershing Square Professor of Global Health and Wellcome Trust Principal Research Fellow at the Harvard Medical School. He is a Professor at Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, Adjunct Professor and Joint Director of the Centre for Chronic Conditions and Injuries at the Public Health Foundation of India, Honorary Professor at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (where he co-founded the Centre for Global Mental Health in 2008), and is a co-founder of Sangath, an Indian NGO which won the MacArthur Foundation’s International Prize for Creative and Effective Institutions in 2008 and the WHO Public Health Champion of India award in 2016. He is a Fellow of the UK's Academy of Medical Sciences and has served on several WHO expert and Government of India committees. His work on the burden of mental disorders, their association with poverty and social disadvantage, and the use of community resources for the delivery of interventions for their prevention and treatment has been recognized by the Chalmers Medal (Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, UK), the Sarnat Medal (US National Academy of Medicine), an Honorary Doctorate from Georgetown University, the Pardes Humanitarian Prize (the Brain & Behaviour Research Foundation), an Honorary OBE from the UK Government and the Posey Leadership Award (Austin College). He also works in the areas of child development and adolescent health. He was listed in TIME Magazine’s 100 most influential persons of the year in 2015.



Jagannath was the Principal Co-ordinator of the Movement for Global Mental Health (2013-2016), and Founder of the Nepal Mental Health Foundation. Jagannath is a human rights activist based in Kathmandu, Nepal.



Sir Graham is Professor of Community Psychiatry at the Centre for Global Mental Health, and the Centre for Implementation Science at King’s College London (KCL). Graham is also Director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Mental Health at KCL. He chairs the Boards of Implemental and the Federation–Global Initiative in Psychiatry, alongside being a Trustee of United for Global Mental Health. He chaired the Guideline Development Group for the WHO mhGAP Intervention Guide, and he carries out research into community mental health services, global mental health, and reducing stigma and discrimination. He leads the Indigo Network, a consortium of over 40 countries worldwide working to reduce stigma and discrimination.



Anil has PhD in mental health economics from the Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics, Pune University, India. Anil currently works as an Associate Professor in Sir Parashurambhau College, Pune University. Anil’s work is informed by his personal experiences with mental health problems. He has special interest in using self-help as a tool for recovery from mental health problems. Anil’s activist zeal and initiative saw the formation of ‘Ekalavya’ a self-help group which did pioneering work in rehabilitation of persons suffering from mental disorders and increasing awareness amongst patients and caregivers in Pune.  Anil is the Vice President of Schizophrenia Awareness Association, Pune and was the Vice President of the All India Federation for Mental Illness (AIFMI is an umbrella organization of user and family organizations working in the field of mental health in India). He has contributed articles in newspapers, magazines as well poems and self-help booklets advocating and emphasising mental health issues.  He has served as a visiting faculty at the International Diploma in Mental Health Law and Human rights, jointly organised by ILS Law College, Pune and the WHO.



Chantelle is a psychology graduate, author, freelance writer and copy editor with teaching experience. She lives in South Africa and wants to assist in building awareness of mental health issues and ensure that those who need help have access to efficient facilities. She has lived experience of mental health issues and a family history of anxiety, depression and bipolar disorder. Chantelle serves on the Board of Management of the Global Mental Health Peer Network.



Cameron is a retired trainer for the Federal Government and youth worker of a large school, from Brisbane, Australia. His role as a trainer involved policy support, writing and presenting training, statistical interpretation on performance, ensuring best practice. As a youth worker he supported young boys with behavioural problems and coordinated a team that focussed on the welfare of the children. His interest in mental health commenced after being diagnosed with major depressive disorder, which led him to become involved in consumer health groups and got involved in supporting hospital staff through a consumer carers group. Cameron contributed to nationwide peer support training modules. Apart from being an advocate for Mental Health, he also advocates for Aboriginal Australians who often deal with issues of trauma and high prevalence rates of suicide among this group. He runs a support network via a Facebook page called “Mental Health Friend”.



Leslie Swartz was born in Zimbabwe in 1955.  He is currently a Distinguished Professor of Psychology at Stellenbosch University, South Africa.  He is a clinical psychologist registered with the South African Health Professions Council (qualified in 1983) and holds a PhD in Psychology from University of Cape Town (1990).  He is founding editor in chief of African Journal of Disability and associate editor of Transcultural Psychiatry and International Journal of Disability, Development and Education.  He was a founder member of the Alan J Flisher Centre for Public Mental Health, the first such centre of its kind in Africa, and a joint collaboration between Stellenbosch University and University of Cape Town.  He has published widely on issues of disability and mental health in southern Africa, and has produced over 300 scholarly outputs.  He completed an evaluation of the Australian Transcultural Mental Health Network for the Australian Commonwealth Government, and was Lead Research Partner for the Southern African Federation of the Disabled, and ran research capacity development training for disability activists in ten southern African countries.  He is recognised as an internationally rated researcher by the National Research Foundation (South Africa), and was awarded the Stals Prize for Psychology by the South African Academy of Arts and Sciences.  He has acted as South African PI on a number of projects related to empowerment, disability, and mental health, and has attracted considerable funding for community-based research.  He is regularly sought out to participate in international meetings and has been keynote speaker at a number of international conferences.  He has been a mentor to many more junior faculty and graduate students and has supervised over 30 PhDs to successful completion.  He has a particular interest in the development of younger scholars from non-traditional backgrounds, working closely to develop the careers of scholars with disabilities, including psychosocial disabilities, and with women and black scholars.  Selected current projects focus on empowerment, language and access to mental health care, issues related to the training of black medical specialists in South Africa, cultural issues in the experience of psychological distress, and citizenship and participation in the lives of people with disabilities.



Crick Lund, BA (Hons), MA, MSocSci (Clinical Psychology), PhD, is Professor of Global Mental Health and Development in the Centre for Global Mental Health, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College London, and  Professor in the Alan J. Flisher Centre for Public Mental Health, Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health, University of Cape Town. He is the CEO of the PRogramme for Improving Mental health carE (PRIME), a DFID funded research consortium focusing on the integration of mental health into primary care in low resource settings in Ethiopia, India, Nepal, South Africa and Uganda, and Principal Investigator of the AFrica Focus on Intervention Research for Mental health (AFFIRM) U19 NIMH Collaborative Hub. He trained as a clinical psychologist at the University of Cape Town in the mid-1990s and was subsequently involved in developing post-apartheid norms for mental health services for the national Department of Health. He worked for the World Health Organisation (WHO) from 2000-2005, on the development of the WHO Mental Health Policy and Service Guidance Package, and has consulted to several countries on mental health policy and planning. He was a founding member of the Alan J Flisher Centre for Public Mental Health and served as its first Director, from 2010 to 2017. His research interests lie in mental health policy, service planning and the relationship between poverty and mental health in low and middle-income countries.



Lawrence is a semi-retired psychiatrist with many years of experience in training the members of various professional disciplines, providing hospital treatment, and managing psychiatric facilities. He has participated in projects to scale up mental health services and train workers in India and Bhutan. He also has an interest in issues of providing universal health coverage, stemming from his years of working in the American health insurance industry. He currently performs accreditation surveys of American hospitals to assess their capacity to provide quality care and maintain their eligibility to receive reimbursement for their services from government programs.  



Dr. Belkin is currently the Chief of Policy and Strategy for ThriveNYC at City Hall. Previously, he was the Executive Deputy Commissioner of Mental Hygiene in the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. The Division of Mental Hygiene has driven the framework and implementation for an NYC wide approach to innovate for mental health called ThriveNYC.  Before his joining city government, he was the Medical Director for Behavioral Health in the Health and Hospitals Corporation of the City of New York, which operates 11 public hospitals in New York City. Dr. Belkin has also served as Chief of Psychiatry (Interim) at Bellevue Hospital and has led policy development in urban health settings, with an interest in advancing innovative approaches to public mental health. As an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at New York University School of Medicine, he was the founding Director of the NYU Program in Global Mental Health. Most recently, Dr. Belkin was tapped by the De Blasio administration to provide policy and strategic leadership in the new Office of ThriveNYC.  The Office was just announced on January 17 and established under the First Deputy Mayor's office to extend the sustainability, reach, and impact of the new directions set by ThriveNYC, including the broader adoption of mental health objectives more broadly across city government and agencies.



Chantelle has worked in business management roles, in South Africa, most of her career. As a lived experience advocate for global mental health, she represents both local and international organizations. She is passionate about creating mental health support solutions for young people as well as addressing unemployment caused by mental health conditions in the workplace. Her main focus areas are on projects promoting mental health literacy, and support programmes for young people; as well as contributing to policy briefs, that promotes participation of young people, in drafting of legislation related to the social determinants of health. Currently she represents The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) in KwaZulu-Natal as Project Manager and Youth Ambassador. She also represents the Global Mental Health Peer Network (GMHPN) as an Executive Committee Member, The Lancet Commission on Global Mental Health (LANCETGMH) as a Youth Leader and The Movement for Global Mental Health (MGMH) as an Advisory Board Member. Chantelle is also in the process of completing an International Diploma in Mental Health, Human Rights and Law at the Indian Law Society (ILS), in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO); as well as completing her law degree part time.



Dan Taylor is a strong mental health activist from Accra, Ghana who received training in journalism and marketing. In 2004, Dan Taylor co-founded MindFreedom Ghana, a NGO committed to fighting for the human rights and dignity of persons with mental disabilities in Ghana. MindFreedom’s core areas of work are advocacy, awareness creation, prevention and research. MindFreedom Ghana has had grants on different occasions from the Disability Rights Fund to implement various activities bordering on advocacy, awareness creation and lobbying which have culminated in outcomes such as in 2012, the ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities UNCRPD) in Ghana and the enactment of modern legislation on mental health with various human rights biases. Grants from the World Health Organization, USAID, Comic Relief UK, Disability Rights Fund and individuals in Ghana and outside have been received to organize various activities geared towards the promotion of the rights of persons with psychosocial disabilities throughout the country. Under Dan’s leadership, MindFreedom Ghana had undertaken various activities such as street marches, a documentary and community outreach activities that have drawn attention to issues of mental health, human rights, respect for the dignity and inclusion of persons with psychosocial disabilities in all aspects of daily living. Dan represents his organization in the National Disability and Human Rights Network of Ghana. Dan has both attended and acted as a resource person at various local and international platforms involving psychosocial disability and human rights.



Linda Lee, M.Sc. (Clinical Psychology) and graduate of the International Diploma program in Mental Health, Law and Human Rights previously managed Mental Health Worldwide which was an inclusive global network of individuals and organizations all working to advance the human rights and conditions in mental health. Linda, with the assistance of her colleagues from the International Diploma program, founded the Mental Health Worldwide website and google group for the launch of the WHO report on Development and Mental Health in 2010. Mental Health Worldwide was volunteer-powered and continued after the launch of the WHO report because of the value of the google group to share information and requests from around the world regarding human rights and mental health concerns. At the time, very few similar resources were available. Now more platforms and resources are being established and Mental Health Worldwide has been phased out. All members were encouraged to join the Movement for Global Mental Health. It is imperative and a human right that the direction for assistance comes from those receiving the assistance themselves and that the help is experienced as helpful and inclusive. Linda is honored to be able to continue her advocacy role in mental health and human rights as an advisory board member for the Movement for Global Mental Health.



Nigel is an Advocate of the High Court with 29 years’ experience and has a B. Comm and LLB degrees. He is currently in private practice. He was employed by the National Prosecuting Authority as a Senior Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions and from 2010 – 2017 he was in charge of the Mental Health Portfolio at the Director of Public Prosecutions offices where he was stationed. He gained extensive experience in the legislative framework involved with mental health, especially in the criminal law environment. He acted as the Official Curator ad litem for all persons treated and observed at psychiatric hospitals in terms of the criminal law. He also advised advocates, public prosecutors, psychiatrists and mental health care managers on the implementation of applicable legislation and court judgments. He was part of the NPA Task Team dealing with proposed amendments to the Criminal Procedure Act and the Mental Health Act. He attended the bi-annual Governmental Interdepartmental Forensic Mental Health Conferences, hosted by the Department of Health, in 2009, 2011 and 2013. He is currently Vice-Chairperson on the Board of Management for the Global Mental Health Peer Network. In 2013 he was involved in an incident which resulted in him being diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He has been under treatment since 2013 for PTSD and accompanying depression, anxiety and associated mental health issues. He has first-hand experience of the widespread misunderstanding by society and stigmatism attached to persons suffering from mental health issues. He is passionate about changing society’s perceptions, general ignorance and treatment of persons suffering from mental health issues. He also wants to bring about legislative amendments so that persons suffering from mental health issues are treated with the dignity they deserve, that their human rights are respected and that they are not marginalized and become a forgotten sector of society.



Jane Sosoo is a Master’s level clinician who is currently serving as a consultant for an upcoming rehabilitation center for previously incarcerated women in a developing country. She has undertaken, with other colleagues and professors, a research to investigate the effects of neurofeedback on anxiety in adults. She has worked for a diversion program at Helen Ross Mcnabb which aimed to provide specialized programs addressing mental health and substance abuse concerns. In religious settings such as the Care and Counseling Center, she facilitated groups for women titled “Conversation the Church Forgot”. These groups offered a platform to understand trauma and the path to healing. Moreover, she has also conducted trainings for teachers and principals on suicide and the its impact on the community.



Gary believes in the power of being grateful and maintaining a positive outlook even when dealing with adversity. Gary is an ambassador for SeeChange, since overcoming a mental health illness in 2009/2010 he has been working with SeeChange to try and reduce the stigma related to mental health. As part of Gary's recovery he took up running to see if that would help. Since then, Gary has completed a number of marathons and ultra-marathons, his most recent achievement is completing the North Pole marathon in April 2015, he is currently training for other endurance challenges in 2017. Gary passionately believes in running as a means to overcoming a mental illness and in using running to manage our mental health.



Pamela Collins is Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Professor of Global Health at the University of Washington in Seattle, where she directs the Global Mental Health Program. She is a psychiatrist and mixed methods researcher with 25 years of experience in global public health and global mental health research, education, training and capacity-building, and science policy leadership. Prior to her current role she directed the Office for Research on Disparities & Global Mental Health and the Office of Rural Mental Health Research at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) (USA). While at NIMH Dr. Collins launched the Grand Challenges in Global Mental Health initiative and established a program of global mental health services and implementation science research in low- and middle-income countries. She was an editor of the 2011 Lancet series on Global Mental Health, editor of the 2013 PLoS Medicine Policy Forum series on integrating mental health into diverse platforms of care, co-lead of the NIMH-PEPFAR initiative on mental health and HIV, and the director of the RISING SUN initiative on suicide prevention in Arctic Indigenous communities. Dr. Collins served as a commissioner for the Lancet Commission on Global Mental Health and Sustainable Development. Professor Collins’s research has focused on social stigma related to mental illness and its relationship to women’s health behaviors; the intersections of HIV prevention, care, and treatment; and the mental health needs of diverse groups in the US, Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa. She is developing new research on urban adolescent mental health around the world. She obtained her M.D. from Cornell University Medical College and a Master of Public Health from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. She completed residency training in psychiatry at Columbia University, postdoctoral fellowship training at Columbia University and Harvard Medical School. She was formerly an associate professor at Columbia University, Department of Epidemiology, Mailman School of Public Health and Department of Psychiatry, College of Physicians and Surgeons.



Julian trained as a psychiatrist, and is now Mental Health Director for CBM. His work involves engaging with Governments and other service providers to strengthen mental health systems. He also focuses on promoting CBM’s broader priority of working for an inclusive society where service users are empowered to participate in processes of policy and legislation development, as well as practical aspects of their implementation. CBM aim to promote meaningful application of evidence based practice, and he has published on issues relating to system strengthening, scaling up mental health services in low income countries, and empowerment of service users. He lived for 13 years in West Africa, initially in Nigeria, and more recently in Lomé, Togo, from where he worked in countries across the region. Since 2015 he has been studying and working at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and working with the Mental Health Innovation Network ( team.



Graciela is a surgeon, a specialist in psychiatry and mental health at the University of Chile. She has served on various ministerial committees on the issues of mental health, primary health care, women health and more. She has also played an instrumental role to start nationwide program particularly in the treatment of depressive disorders through primary care.



Alex Cohen is an anthropologist whose PhD research was based  Dr. Cohen has published work on a wide range of topics, including: the mental health of indigenous peoples, the integration of mental health services in primary care, social inequalities in response to treatment for late-life depression, psychiatric institutions, ageing and well-being in Goa, India, and cross-cultural research on psychosis.  In addition, he co-authored three of the papers in the original Lancet series on Global Mental Health (2007).  For almost 20 years he has been involved with educational programmes about global mental health.  For example, in 2001, he collaborated with Prof. Harry Minas to establish the International Mental Health Leadership Program at The University of Melbourne, and, in 2012, Dr. Cohen lead the effort to establish an MSc in Global Mental Health, a joint program offered by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and the King’s College London Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience. From 2012 until his retirement from LSHTM in 2017, Dr. Cohen was co-director of the program.  Currently, Dr. Cohen and colleagues are engaged in a 5-year research project (funded by the UK Medical Research Council) about persons living with psychosis in sites in India, Nigeria and Trinidad.



Ritsuko (Ritz) Kakuma is an Associate Professor in Global Mental Health and co-Director of the Centre for Global Mental Health, Programme co-Director for the joint MSc in Global Mental Health at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and King's College London, a Visiting Teacher at Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience at King's College London, and Honorary Senior Fellow at Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne. Her research and development activities are primarily based in low- and middle-income settings and among culturally and linguistically diverse populations and include: mental health policy and system strengthening, mental health human resource development, health policy analysis, policy and community engagement, and health research and leadership capacity strengthening. She co-led the first MGMH Secretariat with Harry Minas when she was based at University of Melbourne.



Kathryn Goetzke is an entrepreneur, founder, strategic consultant and person with lived experience. She is currently Chief Mood Officer at The Mood Factory, with the initial brand Mood-lites selling over 9 million units while running the first nationwide cause marketing campaign for mental health raising 1M dollars. The Mood Factory’s new line, Mood-scents, is based on how smells impact moods and her goal is to ‘Improve Moods’ by teaching consumers how to get in the present moment through multiple sensory engagement. Kathryn is also founder of iFred, and presents globally on the need to rebrand mental health with action steps for doing so.  iFred’s latest award-winning program, Hopeful Minds, is focused on prevention of anxiety and depression in youth by teaching them skills for building a Hopeful Mindset. It is free and available all around the world, and was recently featured on the BBC ‘Teens on the Edge’documentary. Kathryn has presented globally, appeared on multiple radio and television shows, and is a regular contributor to Thrive Global and PsychCentral. She sits on advisory boards forFundaMentalSDG, the Global Mental Health MovementY Mental Health, and Women’s Brain Project. Kathryn has in MBA in International Marketing Management, and BA in Psychology. She started this work to honor her late father Jon, who died by suicide when she was a freshman at college. Kathryn herself is learning how to thrive with depression, anxiety, ADHD, PTSD, addictions, and a previous suicide attempt. She has been happily and gratefully sober for almost 15 years, and is committed to living a hopeful, happy, and present life.



Francisco Ortega is Professor at the Institute for Social Medicine of the State University of Rio de Janeiro and Research director of the Rio Center for Global Health at the State University of Rio de Janeiro. He is also Visiting Professor at the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine of King’s College, London. He was invited professor at the Institute of Social Sciences, University of Buenos Aires, at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science of Berlin, at the Institute of Political Science, Oldenburg University and at the University of Bielefeld. His research examines the many emerging ‘neuro-disciplines’ such as neuroethics, cultural neuroscience, neuroaesthetics, and the cerebralization of autism and other psychiatric disorders. In addition, he has undertaken qualitative research on the mechanisms of social and personal identity formation in individuals diagnosed with autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in Brazil and on the challenges for implementing global mental health policies in Brazil.



Bharti Patel completed her Social Sciences degree at the University of Kwa- Zulu Natal (previously University of Durban Westville). She started her career in Child Welfare and focused specifically in child trauma and abuse. Her experience in the Social Development sector involves direct social work services to individuals, groups and communities within marginalised communities. She has extensive experience in foster care, adoption and reintegration of orphan and vulnerable children in resource poor communities. Currently, she is the National Executive Director of the SA Federation for Mental Health (SAFMH) - a national non- governmental organisation that seeks to empower and uphold the rights of mental health care users in South Africa. Since joining the SAFMH she has passionately advocated for the empowerment and rights of persons with disability. She has participated in various forums advocating and lobbying for enabling legislation & policy frameworks for the NPO Sector. She serves on the Board of National Coalition of Social Service Organisations (NACOSS) which plays a key role in capacitating community based organisations to provide holistic care and services within communities; The  South African Disability Alliance which promotes the right of disabled people to self-representation in all matters affecting them, and upholding and promoting the slogan “nothing about us without us”.



Mona Sharma is a Clinical psychologist with specialization in Cognitive Behavior Therapy. She has a Master’s degree in public mental health from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. She has worked for more than a decade towards community integration of people with severe mental illness, in India, Middle East and USA. Mona has worked with humanitarian aid agencies in providing psychosocial services to displaced populations and training the field staff in psychological first aid. Having lived closely with mental illness for most years of her life, she likes to write narratives on living with mental health issues. She is working with a national group in India for ensuring civil rights and dignity of people living with mental illness.



Karen originally trained as a pyschologist and holds a Phd in Primary Health Care Systems.  Nowadays, she is in charge of Planning and Support for the Pyschosocial Services Network and Vulnerable Populations in Rio State, Brazil. Her work involves policymaking for people with mental health problems, prison populations, Afro-Brazilians, immigrants, Amerindians, gender and sexual diversity. In addition, Karen also focuses on innovative healthcare methods to engage and empower service users and professionals to participate in processes of policy and legislation development, by strengthening networks and promoting meaningful application of evidence-based practice. She has published on issues concerning primary mental health systems and policies, as well as integration of services.  Karen is the representative of Brazil on the Global Mental Health Peer Network’s Country Executive Committee.



Gayathri Ramprasad, MBA, CPS. Mental Health Advocate, Author, and Speaker. Gayathri is the Founder and President of ASHA International a nonprofit organization promoting personal, organizational, and community wellness through mental health education, training and support. And, the author of Shadows in the Sun: Healing from Depression and Finding the Light Within Her successful battle in overcoming debilitating depression taught her the power of hope and holistic wellness. Now, she shares that message with others. Since the launch of ASHA International’s wellness campaign, Healthy Minds, Healthy Lives in 2006, Gayathri’s keynotes, wellness workshops, and cultural competence trainings have reached more than 50,000 people nationally and internationally with a resounding message of hope and recovery. Individuals and organizations alike applaud Gayathri as an agent of hope and transformational change. Gayathri received her first undergraduate degree in science from Bangalore University in India. She earned a second undergraduate degree in Management and Business Information systems and a Master’s in Business Administration at George Fox University in Newberg, Oregon. She is a Certified Peer Specialist (CPS). And, serves on the Advisory Board of the Movement for Global Mental Health. Gayathri is the winner of many prestigious awards including the Eli Lilly Welcome Back Award for Lifetime Achievement, the Voice Award for Consumer Leadership sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Outstanding Alumna Award from her alma mater George Fox University, the Esperanza Hope Award, and the Lifetime Innovator award presented by the International Association of Peer Supporters. In 2017, Gayathri was awarded the Mental Health Hero award by Trillium Family Services. To see Gayathri’s TED talk Be the Hope, please visit



Sachin Chaudhry, is an Ashoka Fellow, ChangeMaker – Innovator for the Public and the Founder/CEO of  a digital health startup that utilizes mobile and AI technology to help improve emotional resilience and wellbeing for all by focussing on Prevention & Early Intervention. Sachin has also been nominated for the coveted Schwab Fellowship for his work that is empowering individuals and organizations across all continents fostering prevention, early intervention, and wellbeing. Sachin also serves as the Advisory Board Member at Society of Rehabilitation for Mentally Challenged in India. Sachin has represented TrustCircle @The United Nations as an official delegate for the last three consecutive years, to support United Nations sustainable development goals - SDG 3.4, to promote mental health and wellbeing. Sachin Chaudhry, after spending almost two decades in the technology space leading both tech startups and large organizations - in IT strategy and operations has now turned Social Entrepreneur. Sachin has had first-hand experience in caregiving and has turned around his adversity into a mission via TrustCircle. Sachin holds a Bachelors degree in Computer Science & Engineering, and an MBA from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. Sachin was born and raised in India, studied in India and The United States, has worked in Asia, Europe, and Americas, has travelled to over 30 countries and lives in San Francisco with his wife and son.



Akhileshwar Sahay, decades sufferer of Bipolar Disorder holds a Masters in Management degree from Asian Institute of Management, Manila and Masters in Mathematics degree from Patna University, India. He is an ex Government of India senior officer and works as a Management Consultant, Writer, Author, Social Worker and Mental Health Activist. Mr. Sahay is ex-Member of Government of India (GOI) Mental Health Policy Group and currently is part of the GOI Committee to draft Rules and Regulations for Mental Health Care Act, 2017. He is also Principal Instigator of Action Group: Mission Zero Suicide- India and of Whole Mind India Foundation (WMIF), an institution dedicated to make difference to life and times of Mentally Ill in India.



John Boyd, Psy.D, MHA, is Sutter Health’s CEO for Mental Health Services. John has an extensive background in healthcare administration including mental health. John has been appointed a commissioner by Governor Jerry Brown for the State of California Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission and currently serves in that capacity. John currently serves on the board of Mental Health America and the Steinberg Institute. John also serves on the Advisory Council for the Movement for Global Mental Health, the Well Being Trust, and Mental Health America of Hawaii. He established and chairs the National Behavioral Health Council with over 40 health system participants.  Dr. Boyd has served in other appointed capacities including City of Sacramento Planning Commissioner. He earned his MHA at University of Southern California and his doctorate in psychology at CSPP and completed his APA accredited pre-doctoral internship at University of California Davis Children’s Hospital CAARE Diagnostic and Treatment Center- working primarily with children in foster care who have suffered severe abuse and neglect.  Prior to joining Sutter in 2008, he served as Assistant Administrator, for Kaiser Permanente Sacramento Medical Center. Prior to that, he worked eight years for Shriners Hospitals for Children, both domestically and internationally. During his tenure he served in both local and system-wide capacities.  Additionally, he has worked as both an inpatient and outpatient therapist in several organizations throughout his career. John is a Fellow with the American College of Healthcare Executives.



A proud Newfoundlander, Louise started her career as a registered nurse in Corner Brook, Newfoundland, where she discovered an immediate passion for mental health. Louise’s work has taken her across the country, where she has held a range of positions across the health sector. From front-line nursing, to forensic and corrections care, to research, teaching, and large-scale hospital administration, Louise has seen mental health issues on the ground and at the highest administrative level. Louise became President and CEO of the Mental Health Commission of Canada in 2010, after serving as Senior Operating Officer for the University of Alberta Hospital, one of Canada’s leading clinical, research and teaching hospitals. She holds degrees from Dalhousie University and Northeastern University in Boston, where she received a Master of Science with a specialization in mental health. She also received a Psychiatric Nursing Diploma with clinical practicum at Memorial University of Newfoundland’s Harlow campus in Essex, England. In June 2015, the Canadian College of Health Leaders presented her with the Innovation Award for Health Care Leadership for her work with the MHCC in encouraging future mental health pioneers. She was also given the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012 for her outstanding contributions to Canadian mental health. In her years of work, Louise has heard from hundreds of Canadians living with mental health problems and illnesses. Their stories are her inspiration to spark leading and lasting change for mental health care in Canada. See more at:









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