The conference brought together leading advocates, policymakers, researchers and clinicians from around the world to explore the theme ‘Local and Global Mental Health: So Near and So Far’. 

Professor Matthew Hotopf, Executive Dean, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King’s College London welcomed people to the conference, highlighting Graham’s thought leadership. 

Graham has contributed massively to the fields of mental health, in terms of the NHS and his work on health services, groundbreaking work on stigma, and his work in global mental health – always pointing to issues of equity, which matter to the people we serve. Another achievement of Graham’s is the way he brings other people on – many of us have benefited from his patience, kindness, and thoughtfulness as a supervisor, mentor and academic leader

Professor Matthew Hotopf, King’s College London

David Bradley, Chief Executive Officer of South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, then spoke about the influence of Graham’s work on mental health services, highlighting the first National Service Framework for Mental Health, a strategic blueprint for mental health services for adults of working age which was led by Graham, and published in 2000. 

The National Service Framework was the first time that we had had a guide to how mental health services should be planned, should be run, what they should do in the UK – and all evidence-backed, creating things like community mental health teams, crisis teams and home-treatment teams. It set the tone for how mental health services should be delivered in the NHS

David Bradley, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust

After these welcome addresses, the day explored four cross-cutting themes: community mental health; applied health research; stigma and discrimination; and global mental health. 

These four intersecting themes have been the cornerstones of my work. It’s impossible to advance in any of these fields without a deliberately cross-disciplinary and inter-sectoral approach

Professor Sir Graham Thornicroft

Professor Sir Graham Thornicroft

There were eight keynote lectures from international speakers, covering topics including human-centred design in global mental health, strengthening child health care systems in the UK, mental health care in Ukraine and strategies for reforming mental health care. And four parallel sessions, with 24 presentations and discussion around the latest research, policy and advocacy innovations.

We manifested a health-systems strengthening initiative for children and young people in south London, with a health needs assessment and a co-produced model of care, involving targeted early intervention that was all about finding clinically unmet need and meeting it proportionately

Professor Ingrid Wolfe, incoming ARC South London Director, and professor of paediatrics and child population health, King’s College London

Towards the end of the day, there was also live poetry exploring themes related to mental health care from poet Bill McKnight.

The day finished with tributes from many who have worked closely with Graham and closing remarks from Professor Norman Sartorius, Association for the Improvement of Mental Health Programmes. 

All of my work has only been possible by working with you. To all my brilliant colleagues in Camberwell, London, England, Britain, Europe and the world I simply say, “Thank you”. By working together it will be possible for us to move towards better mental health

Professor Sir Graham Thornicroft

Professor Sir Graham Thornicroft

Find out more:

Sir Graham Thornicroft is Emeritus Professor of Community Psychiatry at King’s College London, Consultant Psychiatrist at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, and outgoing Director of the National Institute for Health and Care Research Applied Research Collaboration (NIHR ARC) in South London.

Knighted in 2017 for services to mental health, Graham has authored over 30 books and written over 670 peer-reviewed scientific papers, shaping global mental health policies.

Download the presentations: 


Parallel sessions:

Community mental health

Applied health research

Stigma and discrimination

Global mental health