What does global mental health innovation mean?

By Ashley Nemiro, PhD

The first Global Mental Health Innovation Imaginarium – co-hosted by the MHPSS Collaborative and the Global MINDS Alliance – is taking place on 25th February. As an advisory board member and facilitator for the Imaginarium, our Senior MHPSS Technical Advisor Ashley Nemiro tells us what global mental health innovation means to her.


Every day, I am reminded of how far we must go to reach a state in which every child, young person and family has access to quality mental health and psychosocial support services. A state where wellbeing is protected and cared for, no matter where you live. Without innovation in global mental health, this goal will be unattainable, and we will remain in the current mental health crisis . Most recently, an article published in PLOS Medicine reported that in low- and lower middle-income countries only 3% of people with depression get minimally adequate treatment vs 23% in high-income countries.[1] This highlights the magnitude of the problem we are dealing with.

To close the gap in access to care, communities, youth, and governments must come together to develop new and innovative ideas and approaches.  Without urgent action, huge challenges will remain in implementing quality mental health and psychosocial support programming at scale for children and their families, with ensuing long-term impacts for their mental health and wellbeing.

Global mental health innovation is all about bringing people together and providing a space for creativity to flourish to find solutions to the most pressing mental health concerns and systemic failures. Through innovation guided by collective action, we can start to address these concerns and develop scalable solutions that are locally owned. If we continue to tackle the mental health crisis without robust innovation and creativity, we will never move the needle or see necessary changes in the outcomes we wish to achieve.

Global dialogues, such as the Imaginarium, provide a space to discuss big ideas and solutions with practitioners, change agents and leaders from across the globe. Now more than ever, we can harness the momentum around mental health and wellbeing and achieve lasting change.


[1] Moitra M, Santomauro D, Collins PY, Vos T, Whiteford H, Saxena S, et al. (2022) The global gap in treatment coverage for major depressive disorder in 84 countries from 2000–2019: A systematic review and Bayesian meta-regression analysis. PLoS Med 19(2): e1003901.

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