These postings are the opinions of the authors and do not represent the official policies or positions of WHO or GCP.Network.

When Was the Last Time You Were Invited to Make History?

In the beginning, it was called Arpanet, it was funded by the United States military and it connected 4 university research lab computers. Such was the internet of 1969. It was a very big deal. It was history in the making, and it went further, faster, than anyone at the time could have imagined. It was disruptive technology at its best – beyond what we could have imagined at the time – and has transformed virtually all aspects of the human condition, from how we communicate to how we diagnose cancer to how we play word games.

So what about mental health? We have yet to fully leverage the potential of technologies today. Consider that over the last 200 years, we’ve only revised the ICD 10 times – and all of those revisions were done with pencil, paper, and postage stamps, until now. The work of the Global Clinical Practice Network is history in the making. When the ICD-11 revisions are put before the World Health Assembly for review and approval, over 12 600 clinicians from at least 150 countries will have contributed to shaping the final guidelines, and the ICD-11 will be shared with anyone and everyone who want it with the click of a button on this site.

Such is the power of the GCP.Network. “Transforming mental health care worldwide” is not a bogus claim made up by Mad Men advertising executives. Through online field studies, our internet-based methodology is resource effective and cost effective. GCP.Network allows for rapid implementation and collection of data in a way that no one would have imagined even 50 years ago. GCP.Network makes the sharing of knowledge and research possible in real time, crossing the language and access barriers and leveling the playing field. GCP.Network can help us transform knowledge and capacity such that one day (hopefully soon) we will be able to stop defining mental health capacity and access based on a country’s GDP or the per capita income of its citizens.

Today, there are 3.17 billion internet users worldwide – up 230 million from last year. Glass half full? Definitely. But there’s still a long way to go, since it means there are still about 4 billion people not connected to the internet – yet.

We have more than 12 600 GCP.Network members from 150 countries. Glass half full? Definitely. But we still have a long way to go. We still have an enormous treatment gap we need to close, and we’re still losing billions of dollars in potential earnings every year due to mental illness. Having landed in the #1 spot as the leading cause of disability worldwide is no prize for mental illness. But we do know what it will take to lower that ranking, and get evidence-based treatment to people who need care. You, as a member of the GCP.Network, are making history, and our potential as a Network is transformative for the field. We are uniting technology, training, research, human capital and data on a global scale for the good of citizens with mental health challenges globally. “Transforming mental health care worldwide” is real – and it is now – and you and I are an essential part of it!