The ETHICS Foundation, established in 2003 by Marina, Lady Marks, has two guiding aims: firstly, to develop and rigorously test ways of helping individuals to reach and maintain good states of mental health; secondly, through an ambitious range of international programmes, to offer bespoke and culturally-sensitive training to promote good mental health.

In 2010, the World Health Organization estimated that at least 450 million people worldwide currently suffer from some form of mental disorder. In the UK, for example, studies have shown that one in six adults suffer from a disorder at any one time. Already, the spread of depression, a most contagious mental illness, has exceeded the most pessimistic predictions and reached a staggering proportion of the world population. The majority of those suffering from mental illness and disorders will never receive treatment, with the result that mental disorders will spread to afflict more and more people and contribute to the global burden of disease. It is this aspect of global health care that the ETHICS Foundation exists to address.

Good physical health depends on good mental health. Good mental health in turn has been shown to be dependent on the individual’s ability to develop strategies to deal with life’s everyday events and challenges.

The training offered by the ETHICS Foundation, based on its own and other internationally distinguished academic research, assists individuals across the globe to develop strategies for good mental health.

In areas of poor socio-economic conditions (but not only there) there is little or no local training in mental health promotion. Under its first two Chairmen, Prof. Sir David Goldberg and Prof. Andre Tylee and its scientific Director Dr Maria Vassiliadou (whose pioneering work on mental health promotion was developed for the ETHICS foundation), ETHICS has produced, tested and carried out several projects in mental health promotion. These were aimed at educating various public groups including health professionals of different specialisations, the army, the police, teachers, lawyers and judges, journalists, diplomats and adolescents.

Under the leadership of its current Chairman, Professor Rachel Jenkins, the former Director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for the UK, ETHICS is actively involved in training doctors, clinical officers and nurses to promote mental health, prevent mental illness, and to recognise and treat mental disorders in primary health care settings, such as GP surgeries.

To complement this, ETHICS has developed online resources that enable wider access to tailor-made training for healthcare workers, schoolteachers, college lecturers and other interested groups and individuals all over the world.

The ETHICS Foundation is committed to forming strategic partnerships with leading organisations in the field of mental health promotion and has collaborated with the Institute of Psychiatry, London, the World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre for Research and Training in Mental Health and the University of Athens in the training of mental health professionals and the general public.