GMH@Harvard Priority Workstreams

The worldwide launch of the Lancet Commission on Global Mental Health and Sustainable Development at the first-ever Global Ministerial Mental Health Summit occurred in October 2018. Since the launch, GMH@Harvard has lead an Initiative to make the goals of the Lancet Commission a reality.

The Initiative is currently working to scale, and sustain a set of work-packages which seek to transform mental health globally. The Initiative has identified priority work-streams that seek to address five structural barriers to success, we’ve outlined them below:

EMPOWER: Building the Mental Health Workforce

Visit EMPOWER’s website for more information at

Lack of skilled human resources is a major barrier restricting health care systems’ abilities to deliver psychosocial interventions.

  • We are building a digital platform called ‘EMPOWER’ through which providers can learn, master, and deliver evidence-based psychosocial treatments.
  • The world’s leading psychological treatment scientists are guiding the development of the initial curriculum and toolkit.
  • In the next five years, we aim to train over one million front-line workers to deliver psychological therapies for mood, anxiety, trauma-related, and addiction-related mental health problems.
  • To learn more, you can review our plans here 

ENGAGE: Engaging with and Enhancing Empowerment of Persons with Lived Experience

Join us for a Virtual Book Launch for the edited volume: Mental Health, Legal Capacity and Human Rights on October 8th 2021.

The voices of people with the lived experience are critical to address the profound levels of human rights abuses experienced by people with mental disorders.

We initiated an effort to engage these voices through a workshop in September 2019 where legal experts, mental health professionals, and prominent self-advocates will elaborate on the practical considerations and research agenda arising from the Convention for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities prohibiting the involuntary treatment of persons with mental disorders. 

Our goal is to generate guidelines on supported decision making and enabling the engagement of people with the lived experience to design, deliver and evaluate the quality of mental health care. 

CHAMPIONS: Mental Health Champions: An Executive Leadership Program for Mental Health

Read more here


Mental Health Champions: An Executive Leadership Program for Mental Health (ELP-MH) responds to this need by providing training and ongoing support to potential leaders, to empower them to achieve key mental health objectives by implementing evidence-based and innovative programs in their organizations or countries.

Connected to the GlobalMentalHealth@Harvard Initiative, the program will be based at Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health which has many decades of experience in running executive learning initiatives. Collaboration will be established with other schools of the University including Harvard Medical School, the Harvard Global Health Institute, the John F Kennedy School of Government, Harvard Business School and the Harvard Advanced Learning Initiative, to benefit from faculty expertise at each school. 

Program Description

  • Two year program with the objective of providing essential knowledge in mental health and building skills in program implementation and leadership. 
  • Individual Mentorship where each participant is matched with a senior professional from the Harvard faculty for mentorship beginning during the initial course and continuing for two years. 
  • All participants are invited to join a learning collaborative following the two week in house training to foster ongoing peer learning and support. This will be online with three-monthly web-conferences and an annual face to face meeting.

Eligible Participants

  • Top and middle career policy advisors, health administrators and service planners from government, business and non-profit sectors with a responsibility for mental health.
  • Candidates are expected to have several years of experience in the field and will be in a regular position to ensure that the training investments in them are likely to have a large and sustained impact.
  • All regions and countries are eligible to apply.

COUNTDOWN: Holding Mental Health Care Systems Accountable

Visit The Lancet Commission on Global Mental Health – Countdown 2030 for more information.

The lack of metrics to evaluate mental health care systems has long been a challenge for motivating increased investments in mental health and holding country and sub-national leaders accountable.

In partnership with the WHO, the Lancet, and civil society partners, we are developing a set of metrics that can be used to assess the performance of regional, national, and sub-national mental health care systems.

In the next three years, we will produce the first comprehensive global analysis on the performance of the mental health care systems of nations and sub-national regions, and publish these at regular intervals thereafter.

Reach out to Professor Shekhar Saxena for more information.

ACT EARLY: Acting Early in the Life Course to Prevent Mental Health Problems and Promote Wellbeing

There is a growing crisis of poor mental health afflicting young people globally, and health systems need a renewed commitment to work across sectors to reduce the incidence of mental health problems and reduce mortality related to self-harm and violence.

Nurturing environments (at home, in schools, in neighborhoods and in the digital world) promote mental health, prevent mental health problems, and intervene in a timely fashion when mental health problems arise.

We have initiated a program to implement a ‘joined-up’ program of evidence-based interventions that support the creation of such nurturing environments in diverse populations globally, and to demonstrate their impact on reducing mental health problems—including violent behavior, self-harm, and addictions—in young people in the target communities.

We have also initiated an evidence-based integrated intervention program for university students throughout the world.