Psychiatry and mental health narratives have changed extensively over the last centuries. Today, treatment and recovery of mental disorders go hand in hand with promotion and prevention and there is an increased interest in rehabilitation and psycho-social interventions. Yet this was not always the case – these fields of research and intervention have had intricate connections either running in parallel or in confluence but also sometimes in conflict.
Bound in the history of Psychiatry is a search for an identity which has been complex and ultimately was reached by a compromise between empirical and non-empirical vectors coming from neurobiological, psychological and social inputs. Today these have informed public health policies which all aim at the same goal – reaching the highest possible mental wellbeing.
The WPA is psychiatry’s global association representing 140 psychiatric societies in 120 countries and supporting more than 250,000 psychiatrists.
With its 70 Scientific Sections, it promotes collaborative work in specialist areas of psychiatry. It has developed ethical guidelines for psychiatric practice, including the Madrid Declaration, and position statements on topics relevant to psychiatric practice and the role of psychiatrists. The WPA partners with its members to host the annual WPA World Congress of Psychiatry as well as regional and thematic congresses, attracting global leaders in mental health and providing forums for shared learning and collaboration.
This focus on education and learning has also seen the WPA develop various educational programs – such as its long-distance e-Learning program – together with a series of books and a regular member newsletter, WPA News. The WPA’s official journal, World Psychiatry, was recently named the Number 1 ranked journal in Psychiatry and Number 1 ranked journal in the Social Science Citation Index.