The two most common mental health issues, depression and anxiety, are also the leading cause of disability globally. The economic impact and societal ramifications are increasingly being recognised and a cultural and policy shift in the way mental health disorders are perceived and tackled is already underway. However, much remains to be done to address the stark discrepancies between the availability of treatment in different parts of the world. Dixon Chibanda is Professor of Psychiatry and Public Health at the University of Zimbabwe, Associate Professor of Global Mental Health at London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, and Director of the African Mental Health Research Initiative (AMARI). He is a leading academic, practitioner and advocate for cutting-edge public mental health initiatives. His research focuses on developing sustainable community-based mental health programmes such as the Friendship Bench, which trains Zimbabwean grandmothers as lay health workers to deliver counselling from a wooden bench. At Falling Walls, Dixon will talk about the potential of such initiatives and other measures necessary to bring affordable, accessible and highly effective mental health solutions to underserved communities around the world.

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