Mental health: involving the community to improve health care


Institutional Communication Service

23 May 2019

The public conference by Benedetto Saraceno, professor of Global Health at the NOVA University of Lisbon will be held on Tuesday, 11 June at 6 pm in the Lugano campus auditorium. Thanks to the input of one of the most important expert in the field, the conference is a chance to delve into the main challenges regarding treatment and rehabilitation of mental disorders, while focusing on the role played by community involvement.  

The conference organised by Emiliano Albanese, professor of Public Health at the Faculty of Biomedical Sciences will tackle issues such as the resources in mental health services, that too often are inadequate to meet the population and patients’ needs. Resources are often allocated irrationally, and aimed at hospitals or clinics, rather than used to fund and support services and interventions at the community level.

Prof. Saraceno will scrutinize the WHO recommendations and the Protocols of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The conference will also address the social dimension of mental illness, both from the point of view of social determinants as risk factors of poor mental health, and from that of possible interventions to close the mental health gap in the community.

Prof. Saraceno's lecture is held within the module of the Master of Advanced studies in Santè Publique (University of Geneva) dedicated to “Public Mental Health”. This year, the module will be held in Lugano thanks to the expertise of Prof. Emiliano Albanese. USI aims at consolidating the public health sector both from a research and teaching point of view also through well-established collaborations in the context of the Lugano Summer School in Public Health Policy, Economics and Management (SSPH+), now in its 28th edition.


Prof. Benedetto Saraceno

Benedetto Saraceno is General Secretary of the Lisbon Institute of Global Mental Health and Global Ambassador of Special Olympics. He is full professor of Global Health at the University of Lisbon where he directed the Global Mental Health project of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. In Lisbon he also heads the International Diploma in Mental Health Policies. He served as Commissioner of the Lancet Commission on Global Mental Health. In Milan he leads the SOUQ Study Centre of the House of Charity. From 1999 to 2010 he had been the Director of the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse of the World Health Organization and since 2008 he has also been leading the Department of Non-Communicable Diseases. During his time at the WHO, Saraceno promoted the World Report on Mental Health and World Mental Health Day (2001) and developed mental health policies and human rights promotion in Africa, North and South America, the Middle East, South East Asia and the Far East. Saraceno is a psychiatrist and public health expert. He has worked as a psychiatrist in Trieste under the direction of Franco Basaglia and in Milan as head of the Community for serious psychotic patients "Nuova Legge". In 1985 he left the medical practice and became involved in research at the Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research in Milan. In 1990 he became director of the Laboratory of Epidemiology and Social Psychiatry at the Mario Negri Institute. In 1990 he was one of the promoters of the Caracas Conference, which spread throughout the Latin America community models of psychiatric care inspired by the defense of the human rights of psychiatric patients, and taught at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. Saraceno has received an Honorary Degree from the Universities of Birmingham and Lisbon and is an honorary member of the Royal College of Psychiatry.


The event takes place thanks to the support of the IBSA Foundation for Scientific Research: