Press Release: IFMSA Davos 2020

The Speak Your Mind campaign partners with leading international body for medical students to tackle the current global mental health crisis and shape the future of care 

The International Federation of Medical Students’ Association, which has a membership of 1.3 million medical students worldwide is today (Wednesday 22nd January) partnering with the Speak Your Mind campaign to tackle the global mental health crisis.

Speak Your Mind is a nationally-driven, globally-united campaign active in 19 countries that demands better policies and increased funding for mental health. More than 1.3 million medical students are now adding their voice to this demand and calling on global leaders to act and invest in mental health.

As global leaders convene to discuss health affairs at the World Economic Forum (WEF)’s Annual Meeting in Davos this week, IFMSA and Speak Your Mind are uniting in their efforts on mental health – both believing there is no health without mental health and immediate action is needed.  

Elisha London, CEO of United for Global Mental Health has been representing Speak Your Mind at a number of high-profile events delivering the message that it’s #TimeToInvest in mental health. These include WEF’s Community Session on Mental Health and TIME Magazine and Kaiser Permanente’s Panel on Mental Health. TIME produced a film featuring Speak Your Mind campaigners which was played during the panel encouraging everyone to take part in the #40seconds voice petition already completed by thousands. The film is available to watch here.

IFMSA has committed to increasing our work and prioritization for mental health in 2020. As future healthcare professionals, we believe that mental health care is an essential cornerstone of health more broadly and calls for greater investment and services. IFMSA also advocates for meaningful participation of youth in the policy-making for mental health and well-being.

As medical students, IFMSA advocates for the prioritisation of its member’s mental health, the promotion of mental health within its member’s universities and communities and the improvement of mental health services for students. 

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), depression affects over 264 million people globally. Depression and anxiety are among the leading causes of disability worldwide and are major contributors to the global burden of disease. Every country in the world is failing to manage the escalating fallout. Up to half of people with mental health conditions in high-income countries receive no treatment and over three-quarters miss out in low- and middle-income countries.

Elisha London, Founder and CEO of United for Global Mental Health says, “It’s amazing to see the next generation of healthcare professionals prioritising mental health. We need to work towards a world where mental health is valued and treated in the same way as physical health. There’s a long way to go before that happens – but we’re starting to see the movement towards that being possible.”

Nebojša Nikolić, President of IFMSA says: “We recognize the global burden of mental health conditions and the urgency of its prioritization and investment. We believe that it is our duty to break the stigma around mental health both amongst health care practitioners and the general population. IFMSA builds the capacity of medical students around the world to become powerful mental health advocates; and voices the stance of our 135 member organizations in global health movements. It is an exceptional honor to partner with United for Global Mental Health and shape a world that puts mental health at an utmost priority.”

Notes to Editors:

World Health Organisation Fact Sheet:

Global State of Mental Health Briefing:

IFMSA Policy Document on Mental Health:

For more information about United for Global Mental Health please contact Joel Beckman, Communications Manager on [email protected]. For more information about IFMSA please contact Tarek Ezzine, Vice President for External Affairs [email protected]

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