The Global Forum on Bioethics in Research (GFBR) will hold a two-day meeting in Toronto, Canada on 8-9 June 2021 (tentative) on the theme “Ethical issues arising in research with people with mental health conditions”The call for applications is live and awards are available for successful applicants from LMICs to cover the cost of their travel, accommodation and single-entry visa.

Meeting summary: Meaningful research is required to advance the health of people with mental health conditions, but this has been stymied by a lack of mental health resources in low- and middle- income countries (LMICs) and the ethical and legal challenges faced by researchers globally. There is a need for a more nuanced understanding of how mental health is understood and experienced in diverse contexts, decisional capacity and how to assess it, how stigma and discrimination can be mitigated, and how to address the complex vulnerabilities that people living with mental health conditions may experience. These issues apply not only to mental health research but to research more broadly where exclusionary criteria may prevent the participation of people with mental health conditions resulting in an evidence base for their care that is poorer than for other populations. This is a significant issue given the comorbidity between mental health conditions and physical illness. By addressing these ethical and legal challenges GFBR aims to advance the health of people with mental conditions by promoting their appropriate and ethical inclusion in research. 

As part of the upcoming meeting, the GFBR is seeking case studies that bring attention to key ethical issues that have emerged regarding the involvement of people with mental health conditions in research in LMIC settings, and proposals to participate in a session on governance issues.  

The GFBR is also seeking participants to attend the meeting, with places awarded on a competitive basis. We are seeking broad geographical representation and a mix of disciplinary expertise including researchers, clinicians, healthcare workers, bioethicists, policy-makers, mental health advocates, health system functionaries, journalists and lawyers.

Full details on how to apply are available on the GFBR website and the background paper provides further details on the meeting theme. You’ll find the meeting theme summarised in the infographic below and described by members of the Forum Planning Committee in this video.  

The deadline for applications is 17.00 GMT on 4 November 2020.  

Please note: In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the meeting date will be kept under review and may be postponed until later if necessary.


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