The Global Summit on Mental Health Culture Change 

By February 7, 2017News
The Global Summit on Mental Health Culture Change 

by Barbara Van Dahlen, Ph.D. Founder & President, Give an Hour 

Many well-respected organizations around the world are focusing on mental health in new and innovative ways. Some of these efforts are making great strides in the areas of research and service delivery.
But no convening has brought together thought leaders, stakeholders, policy makers and change agents to focus exclusively on addressing culture as a primary barrier to changing the way we think about, talk about and address emotional well-being and mental health.
A Global Summit on Mental Health Culture Change (GSMHCC) is being planned that will serve to showcase successful efforts, forge new alliances and begin to create a strategic vision to eradicate the fear, shame and guilt that prevents those who are suffering from receiving the compassionate care they deserve. Give an Hour – through the Campaign to Change Direction – is leading the planning effort for this convening which is scheduled to take place in the United States in Los Angeles, California in the spring of 2017. Give an Hour is honored to partner with other organizations working to improve mental health and well-being such as the Movement for Global Mental Health on this important effort.
The Entertainment Community and Culture Change 
Culture is driven by many factors – but in today’s technology based, social media focused, global society, our entertainers often play a significant role in shaping, maintaining or disrupting our culture. Today there are almost as many cell-phone subscriptions (6.8 billion) as there are people on this earth (7 billion). This creates a tremendous opportunity for champions to deliver coordinated messages that will drive culture change and reach those who are in need.
In addition, many celebrities have shared their own stories of emotional pain and struggle – and others have expressed a desire to assist with efforts to remove barriers that prevent those who suffer from receiving care. Hosting the Summit in Southern California creates opportunities to engage the entertainment industry in new and creative ways.
Oren Moverman, award winning writer and filmmaker (the Messenger, Love & Mercy, Time Out of Mind) is one member of the entertainment community who is using his considerable talent, his platform and his upcoming feature film to draw attention to the need to change the culture of mental health. The Dinner, based on the best selling novel by Herman Koch and starring Richard Gere, Laura Linney, Steve Coogan and Rebecca Hall, is a powerful psychological thriller that explores the consequences of unaddressed trauma and mental illness in the lives of two families.

A red-carpet screening of the US premier of this eagerly anticipated film is planned as the perfect opening event for the Summit.

By bringing together advocates, world leaders and the entertainment industry, we will create an opportunity for an important conversation – a conversation recognizing that it’s time to change the culture of mental health. It’s time to remove barriers so that we can all talk openly about our emotional well-being – as well as our emotional pain. By changing our culture we will change minds, attitudes and behaviors. By changing our culture we will increase access to care for those who are suffering.

More information regarding specific dates and details for the Global Summit for Mental Health Culture Change will be available soon on and

Leave a Reply