Skip to main content


Charlene Sunkel

Charlene Sunkel is the Founder and CEO of the Global Mental Health Peer Network and a global advocate for the rights of people with mental health conditions. She’s been working in the field of mental health, advocacy and human rights since 2003 and has authored several papers from a lived experience perspective. She previously served as Commissioner on the Lancet Commission on Global Mental Health and Sustainable Development and recently Co-Chaired the Lancet Commission on Ending Stigma and Discrimination in Mental Health.

Charlene has also contributed to the review and drafting of various policies and legislation in South Africa and provided technical assistance to national and international mental health related reports and documents. She currently serves on a number of international boards and committees, and previously served on the South African Presidential Working Group on Disability and the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Mental Health. Charlene is the former Principal Coordinator for the Movement for Global Mental Health. She has received a number of national and international awards for her work to-date.

Rochelle Burgess

Rochelle Burgess is an Associate Professor at the Institute for Global Health, at University College London. She is a community health psychologist, whose work and teaching focuses broadly on mental health in contexts of adversity and advancing community-led interventions to address the social and political economy of poor mental health globally. Over the past decade she has worked in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Colombia, and London alongside community organizations working to improve mental health. 

Her work has contributed to the development and evaluation of treatment options that respond to the structural determinants of poor mental health (mainly poverty and racialization) alongside psychological and psychiatric care, for marginalized groups in low-income and high-income settings. Co-production, collaborative, and participatory approaches form the cornerstones of her work.