Alessandro recently completed a three-month secondment at the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Geneva, based in the Mental Health Policy and Service Development unit (MHP).
While working in the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, Alessandro was involved in the workstreams of the QualityRights initiative, which covered areas around building capacity to understand and promote human rights and recovery and improving the quality of care and human rights conditions in secondary mental health services worldwide. His contribution to Quality Rights initiative helped create community-based and recovery-oriented services with a focus on human rights, which is at the core of developing a civil society movement to conduct advocacy and influence policy making on a global scale. A final step of his involvement was to help the coordinator in identifying those national policies and legislations that could require changes in accordance with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).
The OIV was key for Alessandro’s PhD in dementia care as it provided him with an overview of how secondary health care services work in other countries. He could get familiar with community-based models for mental health care in which recovery is promoted through social integration by enabling the person to work, study and live independently, for example. This may represent an effective way to fight off stigma and discrimination in people who are already dealing with the difficulties of mental health symptoms. These workstreams provided Alessandro with an overarching understanding on policy development and analysis at the international level which will greatly benefit his personal and professional development.
“The WHO experience was unique, in that it provided me with an understanding of how human rights are promoted and maintained in the delivery of mental health care worldwide, and it also gave me the opportunity to networking and to understand that my role as an academic researcher as a huge potential to inform international organisation on evidence-based practice. I would highly advise in favour of the OIV experience, bearing in mind that there is a bit of planning to do before the actual travel takes place. I would suggest starting 6 months-1 year before the starting date of the international experience. Also, the host organisation can definitely help with issues around housing, commuting, so it is worth talking to them about also some practicalities. The OIV acted as an eye opener for my future career, I now have a more defined research pathway lined up, taking into consideration public global mental health and human rights”.
Posted on Friday 14th June 2019