This blogger was written by Mariana Bolivar, MQ’s Mental Health Inequality Program Leader.
For the past eight years, MQ has hosted an annual event that brings together experts, researchers, experts by experience, policy makers and mental health practitioners in one place so that together we can tackle some of the biggest challenges in mental health.
This year, for the first time ever, the MQ Science Festival was completely virtual and completely free.
We covered a lot during the five-day festival, which hosted attendees from 37 countries and experts from a range of different disciplines.
Below we highlight 5 key calls to action from the event. What calls to action will you highlight? #mqsciencefestival.
1. Request for evidence-based policy making
As Ricardo Acevedo, Shekar Saxena and other speakers have pointed out: many interventions are not being taken, not because of a lack of evidence but because of a lack of political will.
The mental health science community needs more Proactive, persistent and specific on the demands of policy makers. This includes joint efforts with other health and social sectors and a demand for accountability and transparency from policy makers. We need to be better at addressing the elephant in the room.
This is particularly important to demand action to address the broader dynamics that lead to chronic disease and mental disorder worldwide. Many are ignored despite their support for interdisciplinary scientific consensus and even human rights (such as obesity prevention, air quality, and protective environments for children).
2. Reconnect the research with our sense of compassion and common humanity
“Compassion is very basic to human nature. It keeps us alive. [ ] This helps us understand that we are “whole” together. We are a community. That we are born equal, our essence is equal. Although we were born in very unequal conditions. We are a common humanity, and that’s what mercy tells us. It gives us the ability to care for each other, the ability to listen. The ability to build the components we need to be trusted. To trust each other, to trust organizations [ ] and asked for support. To ask organizations, agencies, institutes, and policy to respond to what we need.– Liz Grant