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Published by WASP

February 25, 2023

XXIV World Congress of the World Association of Social Psychiatry (WASP) and annual meeting of the rehabilitation and social psychiatry faculty of the Royal College of Psychiatrists of the United Kingdom at the Royal College of Psychiatrists, London, 16-18 January 2023

Over 350 people from 32 countries around the world attended the above event hosted by the Royal College in London, England recently. The collaboration with our friends at the college, especially Dr Raj Mohan and the college team under the leadership of Jessica Letters, was a delight. This was the first ever hybrid WASP World congress and in line with WASP’s spirit of inclusion offered very reduced rates for those joining in from Low- and Middle-Income countries.

The three days were filled with varied and innovative content across a huge expanse of mental health care, and we were delighted to welcome old and new friends alike. There were 12 keynote speakers from all five inhabited continents. Among the highlights were Sir Michael Marmot and his devastating clarity on the social determinants of health and the widening equality gap in many countries, Olga Falceto from Brazil and her important presentation regarding the importance of the climate crisis to mental health, and David Ndetei’s wide ranging discussion of mental health care in Africa.

Savita Malhotra, the recipient of the highly prestigious Yves Pelicier award, spoke powerfully on the nature and history of social psychiatry. We also had fascinating presentations by our (now) immediate past president Rachid Bennegadi and our brand new president Vincenzo Di Nicola, who spoke about his long relationship with and affection for London psychiatry amongst other things.

Our WASP early career fellows gave inspiring talks relating to their work and initiatives across the world- they too came from all continents (except Europe) and talked to common themes of need and support as well as differences in societies.

Symposia varied widely over the 3 days, with important contributions from experts by experience and service users on how to design and conduct research together alongside round table events looking at an international consensus on rehabilitation psychiatry and other symposia dealing with poverty and mental health, social inclusion, assisted dying, child psychiatry and so much more……

All in all, the congress felt like a success, bringing people together after covid travel restrictions to talk about important issues of mutual concern, build relationships, and further the development of social psychiatry around the world.

Andrew Molodynski

Oxford, January ‘23


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