President Tsai Ing-wen held a foreign economic and trade strategy meeting on August 16, 2016, and passed the "New Southbound Policy" policy program. According to the program, the Executive Yuan upheld the core concept of "long-term in-depth cultivation, diversified development, and two-way reciprocity", and the adequate utilization of the private enterprises and organizations' resources and strength, starting from the four major aspects of "economic and trade cooperation", "talent exchange", "resource sharing" and "regional linkage", the "New Southbound Policy Promotion Plan" was drawn up, and it was expected to cooperate with ASEAN, South Asia, New Zealand and Australia to create a new cooperation model for mutual benefit.
All psychiatric teaching hospitals in Taiwan have integrated the psychiatric therapy and mental health units to establish a psychiatric and mental health multiple treatment model and service quality, and a community health rehabilitation care model for mental patients. In response to the issue of population aging, we have accumulated a lot of experience for guiding the integration of the health and social policies to the meet the requirement of the community in our country, and regarded it as an important reference and learning object. The practice-oriented research for the international cooperation concept has been jointly proposed by the non-governmental psychiatric associations and the psychiatric medical institutions, and therefore the initial formal cooperation relationship has been established. It is expected that the government can also participate in establishing a formal or informal cooperative relations, and to use the pragmatic medical diplomacy to consolidate the current relations for a firm foundation in the sustainable cooperation of the new Southbound Countries.
In order to actively cooperate with the medical foreign policy and promote the country's "New Southbound Policy Promotion Plan", we will integrate the country's advanced mental health professional knowledge, technology and experience, and to assist in the training of mental health personnel for the countries in ASEAN, South Asia and others, and establish exchanges and cooperation Platform to facilitate the complementation and sharing of human resources with them. For this purpose, since 2018, the Ministry of Health and Welfare (hereinafter called MoHW) has organized two major plans, which are the "Research and Education Center of Bridging Asian Mental health and Psychiatry" (hereinafter called REBAMP) and "International Mental Health Training Center Taiwan" (IMHTCT, in short), respectively.
The REBAMP plan, in 2018, the Department of Psychiatry from National Cheng Kung University had combined with Taiwan's psychiatric academic units to establish the relationship, between and within Countries in Southeast Asia, South Asia, New Zealand and Australia for the research and educational cooperation in psychiatry and mental health. The plan team had been to many countries to communicate with their local psychiatric organizations and related academic institutions, and further signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with some of the non-official institutions to cooperate in the related fields, and assisted in exchanging the mutual visits for the outstanding scholars in short-term. The plan team also organized the international seminars on psychiatric medicine in Taiwan, inviting the professionals and experts to share their research and related experience. In addition, the REBAMP plan had also committed to promote international exchanges by producing the audio-visual teaching materials in different languages, and holding relevant domestic education training and lectures. It is hoped that the experiences and achievements in Taiwan can be further expanded and strengthened worldwide.
The IMHTCT plan is a taskforce team from Kaohsiung Municipal Kai-Syuan Psychiatric Hospital (KSPH, in short) which is to organize some of the Taiwan Psychiatric Nursing Home System and academic unit to facilitate and establish the mental health network cooperation with the medical institutions in domestic area, Australia and the United States. Training courses for psychiatric personnel will be launched in Taiwan and to provide the psychiatric medical rehabilitation and community health care training which is supported by the psychiatric medical facilities, through the use of team-oriented (Project & Team Based Learning) experience learning. The medical education is to carry out by community and its partnerships, and link to promote the cultural preservation for the implementation of the overall health literacy. On the other hand, the plan also links to utilize the resources in the Nursing Home System and Hospitals in Taiwan, and it also builds the Hospital Strategic Alliance in foreign countries, which are the Mental Health International Training Centers outside Taiwan. There are three for the said Centers in Vietnam (Nha Trang, Da Nang and Hanoi) for which the community mental health care system are expected to expand profoundly.
Via the fulfilment of training courses and seminars, the domestic and foreign scholars/experts from Europe, the United States and Australia, are invited to Taiwan to fully demonstrate and share the specific experience, modern psychiatry, community mental rehabilitation, and the development of the mental health system with them, and to accelerate in cooperation with government and NGOs, universities and professional institutions in the new Southbound countries. It is envisaged that the establishment of opportunities for correspondence and cooperation in between these countries can be enlarged so that Taiwan can be served as a pattern in Asia.
REBAMP plan was taken over by KSPH since December 2020, and was expanded its scale in exchange for the cooperation with the new southbound countries based on the existing model.
In 2022, the government decided officially to merge IMHTCT with REBAMP into one and renamed as "New Southbound Policy-International Mental Health Cooperation and Training Center, Taiwan", which is simply referred to as IMHCTC ever since.
Through the experience and resources of KSPH, it has combined with local psychiatric institutions to establish a communication channel and information platform which continually help the now Southbound countries work in the mutual benefited medical services as well as linking the institutions and communities together with care modes, and to promote bilateral comprehensive communications in which the Taiwan successful experience can be taken as the mode for the further cooperation and demonstration.