This blog was written by Mariana Bolivar, MQ’s mental health Inequalities programme lead.
For the last eight years, MQ has hosted an annual event that convenes experts, researchers, experts by experience, policy makers and mental health practitioners all into 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 fully virtual and completely free.
We covered a lot over the five-day festival, which hosted attendees from 37 countries and experts from a range of different disciplines.
Below we highlight 5 main calls to action from the event. Which calls to action would you highlight? #mqsciencefestival.
1. Demand evidence-based policy making
As Ricardo Acevedo, Shekhar Saxena and other speakers pointed out: Many interventions are not taken, not because of lack of evidence but due to lack of political will.
The mental health science community needs to be more proactive, insisting and specific on the demands for policy makers. This includes joint efforts with other health and social sectors and demand accountability and transparency from policy makers. We need to be better at addressing the elephant in the room.
This is particularly important to demand the actions that are needed to tackle the wider dynamics that drive chronic disease and mental distress worldwide. Many of which are being ignored despite being backed by multi-disciplinary scientific consensus and even human rights (i.e. obesity prevention, air quality, protective environments for childhood).
2. Reconnect research with our sense of compassion and shared humanity
“Compassion is so fundamental to human nature. It keeps us alive. [ ] It helps us to understand that we are ‘whole’ together. That we are a community. That we are born equal, our essence is equal. Although we are born into very un-equal circumstances. We are a shared humanity, that is what compassion tells us. It gives us the capability to care for each other, the capability to listen. The ability to build up the components we need to have trust. To trust in each other, to trust in organisations [ ] and to ask for support. To ask organisations, agencies, institutes and politics to be responsive to what we need.” – Liz Grant