Global Mental Health Series – Commentaries

The featured article contains a series of commentaries on the Global Mental Health Series which have been reviewed previously on the blog and are freely available here. In the first commentary Richard Horton identifies that opportunities are available to translate mental health policies (e.g. by the WHO) into practice in individual countries. Norman Sartorius then comments on the relationship of mental health and stigma where even governments have contributed and also highlighting that stigma was identified as ‘an area of work’ at a European Union consultation on mental health. Helen Herman and Leslie Swartz write about mental health promotion in  countries with low resources. They make a very interesting point

‘services, governments and non-governmenal organisations tend to concentrate solely on the neglected needs of people with established illnesses and disability’.

Thus the point is that people who have already been identified as having mental illnesses or disability have already had access to the system and its resources in contrast to those with unidentified mental illness or disability. Amita Dhanda and Thelma Narayan discuss mental health and human rights and comment on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities including Article 12 (regarding legal capacity of people with disability and the capacity to act). They also identified guardianship systems in India and Sweden which are graded rather than dichotomous. Dinesh Bhugra and Iraklis Minas write about the relationship of movement of people to mental health. The difficulties in adjusting to a new culture and the resulting needs are identified as well as the importance of that culture to respond to those needs. Tesfamicael Ghebrehiwet and Thomas Barrett talk about the paucity of mental health training for nurses in a group that can be responsible for much of the work in poorly resourced areas. Sylvester Kaatontoka discusses African user networks which have developed in countries including Zambia, Uganda and Kenya and focuses on Zambia where there are only 220 out of the 30,000 people with mental illness within the user network. He emphasises the need for further development of this network in Zambia which could potentially help to overcome stigma. The final commentary by Greg Miller is on the relationship between mental health and the mass media. He discusses the negative and positive roles that the media have played in both stereotyping and in identifying the psychological effects of trauma in the case of the Tsunami before identifying resources for journalists who are writing articles relating to mental health.

As with the Global Mental Health series, these commentaries are rich in content and cite numerous articles for further reading. The Global Mental Health series is an important series of articles for mental health addressing the most significant issues in this area and identifying solutions to pressing problems.



The comments made here represent the opinions of the author and do not represent the profession or any body/organisation. The comments made here are not meant as a source of medical advice and those seeking medical advice are advised to consult with their own doctor. The author is not responsible for the contents of any external sites that are linked to in this blog.


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