Launch of the High-level Commission on Mental Health and COVID-19

Launch of the High-level Commission on Mental Health and COVID-19
High-level Commission on Mental Health

The Pan American Health Organization cordially invites you to join us on the launch event to present the "High-level Commission on Mental Health and COVID-19", that will take place on Friday, 6 May, at 10:00 AM (EDT). The Commission on Mental Health and COVID-19 is a strategic group of leaders and thinkers from across the Americase to support the Organization and its Member States in improving and strengthening mental health across the Americas, both during the pandemic and for the future.





The pandemic has disrupted health and social services, education and community activities, and has devastated the economies of countries in the Americas. Unemployment has risen dramatically, and poverty and inequality have also increased. As a consequence of this, the mental health of people of all ages and socio-economic groups across the Region has been negatively impacted.

Recent studies in the Region have shown high rates of depression and anxiety as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly among women, young people, those with pre-existing mental health conditions, health workers, and persons living in vulnerable conditions. Mental health and substance use services have also been severely disrupted by the pandemic. A lack of financial and human resource investments in mental health services, and the limited implementation of the community-based care model have contributed to the current mental health situation. At the same time, the Region has seen innovations in tele-mental health, and a scaling up of mental health and psychosocial support to address gaps in services. The pandemic has therefore created an opportunity for strengthening and improving mental health using transformational approaches to build back better and fairer.

To achieve this, however, far greater political will, financing, community mobilization and social change are needed to ensure that mental health is afforded the priority it deserves, as part of rebuilding health and social systems, post COVID-19. To this end, the Pan American Health Organization has established a High-Level Commission on Mental Health and COVID-19 to guide the Organization and its Member States in improving mental health in the Americas.

Visit the Virtual Platform for the PAHO High-Level Commission on Mental Health and COVID-19 to learn more and be updated on the advances of the Commision. 


How to participate




10:00am - 10:10am

Welcome Remarks

Dr. Carissa F. Etienne
Director, Pan American Health Organization

10:10am - 10:15am

Opening Remarks

H.E. Ms. Epsy Campbell Barr,
Vice President of the Republic of Costa Rica and Chair of the Commission

10:15am - 10:20am

Introductory Remarks

Mr. Ambassador Nestor Méndez, Assistant Secretary-General, Organization of American States and Co-Chair of the Commission

10:20am - 10:30am

Promoting and Protecting Youth Mental Health During and After COVID-19

The Honourable Dr. Lida Mercedes Sosa Arguello,
Vice Minister of Governance and Health Surveillance, Paraguay

10:30am - 10:40am

Financing Mental Health Now and for the Future

The Honourable Terrence Deyalsingh,
Minister of Health, Trinidad and Tobago

10:40am - 10:55am

Overview of the Commission on Mental Health and COVID-19

Dr. Anselm Hennis,
Director, Department of Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health, Pan American Health Organization

10:55am - 11:00am

Closing Remarks

Dr. Jarbas Barbosa,
Assistant Director, Pan American Health Organization


Time correspondence


  • 7:00 am.– Los Angeles, Vancouver
  • 8:00 am. – Belmopan, Guatemala City,  Managua, San José (CR), San Salvador, Tegucigalpa
  • 9:00 am. – Bogota, Kingston, Lima, México City, Panama City, Quito
  • 10:00 am. – Asunción, Bridgetown, Caracas, Castries, Georgetown, Havana, La Paz, Nassau, Ottawa, Port-au-Prince, Port of Spain, San Juan, Santiago, Santo Domingo, Washington DC 
  • 11:00 am  –  Buenos Aires, Brasilia, Montevideo, Paramaribo
  • 4:00 pm. – Geneva, Madrid

For other cities, check the time in the following link


Related Links


Virtual Platform for the Hig-Level Commission on Mental Health and COVID-19

Mental Health and COVID-19