Mental Health and Education

15 June 2018

Mental Health and Education

Helen Herrman, President, World Psychiatric Association (WPA) (Australia)


Helen Herrman is Professor of Psychiatry at Orygen, National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health, and the Centre for Youth Mental Health at The University of Melbourne; Director of the WHO Collaborating Centre in Mental Health, Melbourne; and a member of the Lancet Commission on Global Mental Health 2015-2018.

She is President of the World Psychiatric Association. She is also immediate past President of the International Association of Women’s Mental Health and the Pacific Rim College of Psychiatrists.

She is a psychiatrist and public health practitioner, and practitioner fellow of the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council. In the past, as Professor and Director of Psychiatry in St. Vincent’s Health Melbourne she led the development of an integrated area mental health service under Australia’s national reform of mental health care. For one year she acted as regional adviser in mental health for the WHO’s Western Pacific Region, based in Manila. Her research and practice interests include community mental health care and promoting mental health. She has past and present research programs in the mental health of marginalised groups, including homeless people, prisoners, and young women and men living in out-of-home care.

She was awarded Officer of the Order of Australia in 2017 and inducted to the Victorian Honour Roll of Women in 2013. She received the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists’ College Citation in 2010 for contributions to national and international psychiatry. She was awarded Doctor of Medical Science (honoris causa) in 2016 by The University of Melbourne.


The WPA supports the importance of education in mental health for many groups in society. It supports education for mental health professionals in public health principles: in understanding that the promotion of mental health (for the whole population and selected sub-groups) and the prevention and treatment of mental illnesses are each important and complementary. Early intervention in the treatment of emerging mental illnesses is particularly important and is relevant to including mental health in universal health care.

The WPA also supports psychiatrists and other mental health professionals to use their expertise to promote participatory approaches to health and facilitate the mental health work of non-specialists across a range of community settings and especially in response to conflicts, emergencies and adversity. The WPA is working with partners to develop training programs to support mental health professionals to develop capacity in the community to respond to the mental health needs of people in adversity. Working with service users and family carers is especially important.”


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