Summer Institute in Global Mental Health | Teachers College Columbia University

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Global Mental Health Summer Institute

April 26 - May 2, 2021

April 26, 2021 - May 2, 2020

Hosted by: The Global Mental Health Lab

Times: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM EST each day

Location:  Online Format with Synchronous Teaching

Our team will support you to participate each day using Zoom audio/video technology, interactive whiteboards and chat features to ensure real-time discussion, Q&A and active participation. You will only need a stable internet connection to participate.

The Summer Institute in Global Mental Health (GMH) is a 7-day training program in the Group Interpersonal Psychotherapy, the World Health Organization (WHO) Mental Health Gap (mhGap) Humanitarian Intervention Guide (HIG) and the role of Disability Policy & Advocacy in GMH. This training is designed for mental health and allied specialists, non-specialists, and students working with populations exposed to severe adversities and trauma.

Group IPT training is provided by:

  • Helen (Lena) Verdeli, Ph.D., M.Sc.
  • Kathleen (Kathy) F. Clougherty, L.C.S.W.

WHO mhGap Humanitarian Intervention Guide training is provided by:

  • Peter Ventevogel, M.D., Ph.D.

Disability Policy & Advocacy in Global Mental Health training is provided by:

  • Sandra Willis, Ph.D.

More information on the faculty and course objectives is located below.

Registration Fee: $1,000.00

Discounts: (Please contact for more info)

  • 25% discount will specifically be offered to all students (Teachers College/Columbia University and non-Teachers College/Columbia University)
  • 25% discount will specifically be offered to all Teachers College/Columbia University alum
  • 25% discount will be offered on the registration cost to groups of 3 or more participating from the same institution.
  • 50% discount will be offered to participants from Low and Middle Income Countries. To see if you qualify, click here.

Discounts cannot be combined and registrants will receive the best discounted price.

In previous years, the following Continuing Education credits have been offered:

  • 42 Professional Development Hours
  • 42 contact hours from the American Psychological Association
  • 37.25 contact hours from Columbia University School of Social Work - $35 CE fee

Details about Continuing Education are forthcoming.

Academic Credit:
TC Students can now register for credit, for more information please contact

Global Mental Health Lab:
For more information about the TC Global Mental Health Lab, directed by Dr. Lena Verdeli, check out our website:


Through a combination of hands-on training, didactic presentations, case studies, live demonstrations, and experiential exercises, trainees will gain knowledge on four essential mental health care elements:

WHO Mental Health Gap Humanitarian Intervention Guide (mhGap-HIG)
April 26 - 27th
The mhGAP-HIG provides non-specialists with first-line assessment and management recommendations in the face of humanitarian emergencies where treatment options are limited. It covers acute stress, grief, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, psychosis, epilepsy, harmful substance use and risk of suicide.

Group Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT Group) & Additional Modules
April 28th - May 1st (first half)
IPT is an evidence-based treatment widely used for adolescents and adults struggling to adapt in the aftermath of adversity. IPT has been tested for feasibility, acceptability, effectiveness, and sustainability in a number of landmark randomized controlled trials. Both the WHO mhGAP and UNHCR guidelines recommend the manual as an effective first line of treatment for depression delivered by non-mental health specialists in low- and middle-income countries. On the World Mental Health Day (October 10th, 2016), the WHO launched a global dissemination of the Group IPT Manual. This document will serve as the guide for the current training:

Family Engagement Strategies
Family support during episodes of mental illness is critical for recovery. In many regions the stigma of mental illness results in withdrawal of family support during episodes, when the person needs it most. We will train on family engagement strategies, which families have found helpful in our work around the globe.

Management of Suicide Risk
Risk assessment and evidence-based brief psychosocial interventions to mitigate suicidal risk in emergency settings will be covered, with an emphasis on the Safety Planning Intervention (SPI). SPI is an evidence-based, stand-alone intervention that has its roots in a brief cognitive therapy (CT). It is designed to manage and mitigate the risk for suicide, especially in acute care settings, such as trauma centers, crisis hotlines, psychiatric inpatient units and emergency departments.

Disability Policy & Advocacy in Global Mental Health training
May 1st (second half) - May 2nd
The module integrates knowledge across disciplines and practices that adopt a rights/social model of mental health and disability, advocating and promoting diversity, equity, non-discrimination and inclusion. They explore conceptual, theoretical and practical transformational policy and programmatic interventions to develop Holistic Systems of Care with evolving applications of the human rights frameworks to evidence-based and practice-based evidence in health/mental health, disability/rehabilitation, education/livelihood, protective/emergency systems. It introduces a conceptual, methodological, programmatic, policy and legislative, rights- based framework that positions biopsychosocial factors and societal barriers as health and social determinants for the onset, expression, course, outcome, reintegration and inclusion of disability and MHPSS disorders.

* Certificate of attendance and in Training in Interpersonal Psychotherapy (Level A) will be provided upon completion of the course.

Learning Objectives

The workshop aims to:

  • Offer hands-on, interactive learning of the WHO Group Interpersonal Psychotherapy manual focused on the basic principles, strategies, and techniques of Group IPT for treatment of depression and post-traumatic symptoms.
  • Build knowledge on how Group IPT is adapted and implemented in low-resource settings for persons affected by extreme adversities.
  • Offer hands-on knowledge of the WHO/UNHCR mhGAP-HIG manual with emphasis on case identification and basic management of priority mental health conditions in humanitarian settings.
  • Build understanding of basic facts about suicide, acquire skills to adequately assess suicide risk, and develop effective plans to mitigate risk in low-resource regions.
  • Emphasize the crucial role of family participation in the process of treatment and provide effective strategies for family engagement.
  • Introduce the principles of human diversity- including neurodiversity, equity and inclusion of persons with disabilities and MHPSS disorders, and the strategies in adopting a rights/social model of mental health and disability that promote integrated, rights-based, person-centered, and holistic systems of care, evidence-based practices and practice-based evidence.
  • Offer direct, hands-on learning on the role of mental health and disability advocacy and policy to combat stigma, discrimination, ableism and to promote rights, recovery and inclusion of persons with disabilities and MHPSS disorders.
  • Become oriented towards disability and mental health treaties, conventions, legislations and global policies that promote human rights along with the instruments and mechanisms to assess and improve the human rights conditions and inclusion of persons with disabilities and MHPSS disorders.
  • Build an understanding of the Twin-Track approach and the means to transform systems, services and communities by (1) mainstreaming disability rights, accessibility and inclusion, (2) identifying and breaking down systemic attitudinal, environmental and institutional barriers, and (3) adopting more person-centered, recovery-oriented and human rights-based approach, in line with the CRPD.


Lena Verdeli, Ph.D., M.Sc., Teachers College, Columbia University
Associate Professor in Clinical Psychology and Director of the Global Mental Health Lab, Teachers College, Columbia University.

Lena Verdeli has been teaching graduate psychology students, psychiatry residents and fellows on research and practice of empirically-supported treatments at Teachers College, Columbia University. Dr. Verdeli’s research focuses on prevention and treatment of mood disorders in adolescents and adults and has received numerous federal and foundation grants for her work. She played a key role in the adaptation, training, and evaluation of psychotherapy protocols used by non-specialists in low-resource areas and has collaborated with academic and humanitarian groups in the US and abroad in treatment studies with depressed adults in southern Uganda and war-affected adolescents in IDP camps in northern Uganda; distressed primary care patients in Goa, India; depressed and anxious persons in Haiti; and traumatized internally displaced women in Bogota, Colombia. She has served as a Technical Advisor for the WHO, Division of Mental Health and Substance Use; Chair of the Research Working group for the Family Committee at the UN; Advisory Board member of the American Foundation for Suicide Research and the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance; and Member of the Mental Health Advisory Board of the Millennium Villages Project of the Earth Institute.

Kathleen F. Clougherty, LCSW, New York State Psychiatric Institute
Instructor in Clinical Psychiatric Social Work (In Psychiatry) at Columbia University

Kathleen F. Clougherty is a senior Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT) trainer and supervisor at the New York State Psychiatric Institute, Instructor in Clinical Psychiatric Social Work (In Psychiatry) at Columbia University, an instructor at the Columbia University School of Social Work, and a private practitioner specializing in the treatment of depression in adolescents and adults. She is the co-author, along with Gregory Henrichsen, of Interpersonal Psychotherapy for Older Adults. Ms. Clougherty has been a co-developer, on-site trainer and supervisor in several major international IPT studies including an adaptation of individual IPT for adults in rural India, an adaptation of group IPT for depressed men and women in southwest Uganda, and an adaptation of group IPT for depressed adolescents in internally displaced persons’ camps in northern Uganda. She currently is trainer and supervisor for a randomized controlled trial of IPT for older adults with traumatic grief, and she is developing adaptations of IPT for the World Health Organization and the Millennium Villages Project. Ms. Clougherty has done extensive training and supervision both nationally and internationally for social workers, psychiatrists, and psychologists. She was trained in IPT by Dr. Gerald Klerman, the co-developer of IPT. Ms. Clougherty received her MSW from Columbia University School of Social Work.

Sandra Willis Headshot

Sandra Willis, Ph.D.

Dr. Willis is a psychologist by profession with 20 years of experience in academic, government and non-government organizations engaging in teaching, mentoring, research, social policy and social development activities leading to leadership roles that emphasize turnaround social development strategies. Dr. Willis received her doctorate in Psychology with a specialization in intellectual & developmental disabilities and has worked in academia as an Assistant Professor and Head of the Psychology Program. For the past 12 years Dr Willis was responsible for providing strategic advice on integrated social, health, and economic development in Dubai via policy, legislative and programmatic recommendations, including a Dubai-wide master plan for service delivery, human resources, partnership development and capital investment. The approach included applied research tools, rigorous analysis, monitoring and evaluation, to ensure that all strategies and policies are contextually appropriate, fiscally responsible, are evidence-based. She developed macro-level social development strategies to drive policy development and impact assessment that include the Dubai Disability, Mental Health, Early Childhood Development and Parenting Strategies.

Currently, Sandra is freelancing while holding 2 active positions as a Visiting Scholar at the Global Mental Health Lab in Columbia University and as Director of Learning & Development in World Enabled, at the University of California - Berkeley. She is continuously inspired to forge on as a disability and child rights activist, always striving for inclusion and equity, tolerance and advocacy.

Peter Ventevogel, M.D., United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
Senior Mental Health Officer with the UNHCR

Peter Ventevogel is a psychiatrist and a medical anthropologist. Since October of 2013 he is the Senior Mental Health Expert with UNHCR, the refugee agency of the United Nations. From 2008-2013 he was the editor-in-chief of Intervention, Journal for Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Conflict Affected Areas, published by the War Trauma Foundation. He worked with the NGO HealthNet TPO in mental health projects in Afghanistan (2002-2005) and Burundi (2005-2008) and as their Technical Advisor Mental Health in the head office in Amsterdam (2008-2011). In 2011 and 2012 he also worked as psychiatrist with Arq Foundation, the national trauma expert center in the Netherlands. Peter regularly did consultancies for the World Health Organization and the UNHCR in Egypt, Jordan, Libya, Pakistan, Sudan and Syria. He has been course director of several academic short courses such as the course ‘Culture, Psychology and Psychiatry’ (Amsterdam Masters of Medical Anthropology), and the ‘Practice Oriented Course Mental Health & Psychosocial Support in Post Conflict Setting’ (HealthNet TPO, the Netherlands).

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