Large-scale mental health conference in Lithuania, special programme for Ukrainians

Registration is now open for Rethinking Mental Health Care, perhaps the largest international mental health conference in Lithuania, which will take place in the Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania in early September. The conference will feature more than 40 speakers from different countries, a special programme for mental health professionals from Ukraine, a session for people with lived experience and a workshop for young Lithuanian psychiatrists.

The international conference “Rethinking Mental Health Care” will bring to Vilnius speakers from the USA, Australia, Switzerland, Israel, Sierra Leone, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Ireland, Norway, Denmark, the Czech Republic, the United Kingdom, South Africa, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Belgium and Lithuania in 8-10 of September.

As the demand for psychological support continues to grow, with more and more people turning to psychologists and psychiatrists, the aim is to make these services truly accessible to as many users as possible. The conference will focus on how to ensure this. It will also look at the means to enable staff to provide services and treatment that have a sustainable and positive impact.

In addition to the full two-day programme, workshops will be organised for young Lithuanian psychiatric professionals and for people working in the field of mental health from Ukraine. The latter will attend the conference free of charge and will be transported to Vilnius by bus. A special session for people with lived experience is also being organised to provide participants with knowledge on how to integrate into society and get rid of the stigma that accompanies mental illness.

“This is the largest psychiatry conference in Lithuania that has deliberately refused sponsorship from the pharmaceutical industry. The conference will focus on the important issues of human rights, inclusion, innovation and the social determinants that affect mental health. This is the first conference that will bring together not only mental health professionals but also the persons with lived experience – consumers of mental health services.

The conference is particularly relevant at a time when mental health services in Ukraine are under direct attack and millions of Ukrainians are experiencing a wide range of psychological difficulties as a result of war. Special attention will be paid to mental health workers in Ukraine, who will be able to attend the conference free of charge and will be invited to a special workshop on war-related trauma. The conference will be organised by FGIP – Federation Global Initiative on Psychiatry – in cooperation with many partners, including the Lithuanian Ministry of Health”, says Prof. Robert van Voren, Head of FGIP and conference organiser, who also works at the Vytautas Magnus University.

The Rethinking Mental Health Care conference will provide a forum for the exchange of ideas on improving accessible mental health care. Four Lithuanians will also be presenting at the conference – Professor Dainius Pūras, Director of the Human Rights Monitoring Institute at Vilnius University, Arūnas Dulkys, Minister of Health of the Republic of Lithuania, Dovilė Juodkaitė, President of the Lithuanian Disability Organisations Forum, and Karilė Levickaitė, Head of Mental Health Perspectives. All interested are invited to register, as the registration fee is lower until 30 June, after that it will become more expensive:

The more than forty speakers include internationally renowned mental health experts. Here is the list of keynote speakers, comprising individuals with many years of experience from Europe, Africa, North America and Oceania.

Prof. Norman Sartoriusis a renowned psychiatrist, former Director of Mental Health at the World Health Organisation, and now President of the Association for the Improvement of Mental Health Programs (Switzerland)

Dr. Vikram Patel – Pershing Square Professor of Global Health in the Blavatnik Institute’s Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School (USA) and Associate Professor at the Public Health Foundation of India (USA)



Prof. Sir Graham Thornicroft – Professor of Community Psychiatry at the Centre for Global Mental Health and the Centre for Implementation Science, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College London (United Kingdom)

Prof. Charlene Sunkel – Founder and CEO of the Global Mental Health Peer Network. She is a global voice for the rights of people with lived experiences of mental health conditions (South Africa)

Claudia Sartor – Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Global Mental Health Peer Network (South Africa)

Dr. Philippe Delespaul – Professor of Innovations in Mental Health Care at the Maastricht University, author of books on psychology (The Netherlands)

Prof. Dainius Pūras – Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Public Mental Health at Vilnius University, Director of the Human Rights Monitoring Institute (Lithuania)



Prof. Gavin Davidson – One of the social work representatives on the Department of Health’s Reference Group for the development and implementation of the Mental Capacity Act (Northern Ireland)

Prof. Richard Wilkinson – Emeritus Professor of Social Epidemiology, University of Nottingham Medical School (United Kingdom)

Myrrhe van Spronsen – neuroscientist, herself a survivor of psychotic episodes, who has studied and blogged about them, and is now writing a book (The Netherlands)

Dr. Lucy Johnstone – Consultant Clinical Psychologist, author and editor of various psychiatric books (UK)

Dr. Piers Gooding – Research Fellow at the University of Melbourne Law School and Australian Research Council Fellow (Australia)

For more information on the speakers:

The conference will be held in English with simultaneous translation into Russian.

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