International Mental Health Collaborating Network

Meeting the whole life needs of a person through
a community whole systems approach

The IMHCN and its partners have been at the forefront of pioneering community mental health services for the last twenty years.

  • We promote the development and sustainability of community mental health services founded on the whole person and their whole life needs. We believe services must be developed  through a Whole life – Whole Systems Community Approach.
  • The objective is to build an integrated and comprehensive system with widespread community ownership capable of meeting the identified whole life needs of individuals and local communities.
  • In most countries downsizing and closing the psychiatric institutions through a process of de-institionalisation as the main objective.
  • It is widely acknowledged that this will improve peoples quality of life and provide opportunities for recovery from mental health issues. However, closing institutions does not necessarly lead to ending institutional thinking and practice.
  • If these reforms are to be effective we should start by changing the thinking and practices within institutions by creating and applying a whole life recovery approach.
  • This work brings many challenges and opportunities for people with mental health issues, family members, mental health workers, services and communities.
  • We have designed programmes to assist people and organisations to make these changes which are being developed and have been implemented across the world.

You can read more about our work here.

We invite you to join us as members (services, individuals and communities) in promoting and developing our work in your country and internationally. For more information about membership go here.



29 and 30 MARCH 2018


«Active citizenship and empowerment in community mental health: 

Participative innovations in France and abroad»

The 5th international meeting of the WHO-Collaborating Centre of Lille extends an invitation to two days of debate and exchange on how to continue enhancing the empowerment of mental health service users and carers. To see the programme go here


Report: The right [and the opportunity] to have a [whole] life

Trieste, Italy November 2017

This was an open interactive meeting with an exchange of new thinking, creative ideas and innovative practices. It included study visits to services and programmes, short courses and masterclasses on innovative practices, working groups and expert meetings.


  • Epidemiology of Rights
  • The issue of migrants and ethnic minorities
  • Bioethics
  • The UNCPRD compliant services
  • The biomedical paradigm or the asylum paradigm?
  • How to avoid coercion and restraint?
  • No more Mh laws?
  • Rights or development?
  • Global Mh and human rights

The presentations given at the meeting can be found here

Important documents related to human rights and mental health can be found here  



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Find out out how you can join IMHCN here


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