Social Work academic at UKZN, Professor Johannes John-Langba has been elected to the board of the World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH) and appointed as Regional Vice-President – Africa of WFMH for the next three years. The WFMH promotes mental health awareness, prevention of mental disorders, advocacy, and best practice recovery-focused interventions worldwide.
John-Langba’s appointment as the WFMH Regional Vice President-Africa is in recognition of his commitment to challenging socially restrictive and discriminatory practices affecting the mental health of people in Africa and globally.
‘I believe the appointment also recognises my contribution to the promotion of mental health literacy, human rights, equal access to treatment and community-based mental health interventions on the African continent over the past decade, not only as a mental health researcher and practitioner but also as a Mental Health Ambassador of Cape Mental Health (CMH); the oldest community-based mental health organisation in South Africa,’ he said.
His appointment ties in with his current research interests at UKZN that focus on the psychosocial dimensions of the COVID-19 pandemic among university students in five African countries and its impact on carers of persons with mental and neurological disorders.
John-Langba will serve as the official representative of the WFMH in Africa and will represent the federation on all matters related to mental health on the continent. He is also charged with establishing a WFMH Regional Advisory Committee for the Africa region and will serve as Chair of the WFMH Regional Advisory Council for Africa and as a member of the WFMH Regional Vice-Presidents Committee.
‘I plan to utilise my role as the WFMH Regional Vice-President – Africa to engage in evidence-based advocacy for increased investment in mental health by African governments, as part of the WFMH’s global call for greater investment in mental health in the region,’ he said.
John-Langba is the Academic Leader of Research and Higher Degrees in the School of Applied Human Sciences and Director of the College of Humanities Doctoral Academy.