The Academy of Medical Sciences, in collaboration with the InterAcademy Partnership for Health (IAP for Health), convened a policy workshop on mental health in low- and middle-income countries in London on the 28-29 June 2018.
Challenges and priorities for global mental health research in low- and middle-income countries
This two day workshop, co-chaired by Professor Vikram Patel FMedSci and Professor Crick Lund, facilitated discussions on improving the mental health systems in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).
A meeting report was produced and disseminated to UK and LMIC stakeholders. This report outlines the proposed next steps to improve the mental health systems in LMICs.
The report can be downloaded from the downloads tab on the right hand side of this page or by clicking on this image.
Mental and substance use disorders are one of the leading causes of global disease burden. To address this, the promotion of mental health is included as a health priority in United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
In LMICs, severely underfunded mental health services and shortage of workforce prevent the majority of people from receiving appropriate treatment for mental health problems. Additionally, the low capacity for mental health research hinders introduction of cost-effective and regionally tailored interventions.
Building on the Academy’s report from 2008 on global mental health, this workshop brought together experts from both the UK and LMICs to explore the existing barriers and challenges to strengthening mental health services in LMICs. On the basis of the discussed evidence, the workshop identified actions to strengthen mental health systems in LMICs and achieve mental health targets in the Sustainable Development Goals.
Click here to find out more about our other GCRF workshops and read the workshop reports.
This workshop is funded by the Global Challenges Research Fund that aims to support cutting-edge research that addresses the challenges faced by developing countries. Visit our GCRF webpage to read more about the fund.
The organisation of the workshop was overseen by a steering committee based in both the UK and LMICs. The steering committee members were:
Co-chair: Professor Vikram Patel FMedSci, Professor of Global Health, Harvard University
Co-chair: Professor Crick Lund, Director of Alan J Flisher Centre for Public Mental Health, University of Cape Town and Professor of Global Mental Health and Development, King's College London
Professor Ricardo Araya, Professor of Global Mental Health, King’s College London
Professor Jonathan Burns, Honorary Professor of Psychiatry, University of Exeter
Professor Andreas Heinz, Director of the Clinic for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin
Dr Lourdes L. Ignacio, Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry, University of the Philippines
Dr Ritsuko Kakuma, Associate Professor in Global Mental Health & Co-Director of Centre for Global Mental Health, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
Professor Olayinka Omigbodun, Director of Centre for Child and Adolescent Mental Health, University of Ibadan
Mental Health Challenges and Global Priority Areas
The aims of the workshop were to reflect on progress since the 2011 Global Mental Health initiative and identify opportunities for research into the treatment and prevention of mental health disorders.
The workshop outlined that many of the research questions identified by the 2011 initiative remain pertinent and unanswered. The most progress has been made in expanding access to care and improving treatment. We now have more evidence on the effectiveness of interventions and therefore research into the implementation and scale up of these interventions is a priority. The workshop identified that there is a need to identify more age specific risk factors and develop appropriate care packages that meet people’s needs as these needs change throughout their lives.
Influenced by the outcomes of this workshop, the UK committed a £30 million increase in global mental health funding at the Global Health Ministerial Summit in 2018.
In addition to gathering evidence, the workshops and report are designed to act as a catalyst for future policy activities and build the policy capacity for our national partners in LMICs. Hardcopies were disseminated to key stakeholders in participating LMICs, UK and other LMIC stakeholders.
Top Three Impacts
- The Academy participated upon invitation in a Global Mental Health Ministerial Summit in London on the 9-10 October 2018. The outcomes from the AMS workshop influenced the structure of the research workstream of the Summit programme to focus on Universal Health Coverage and the prevention and promotion of mental health.
- At the Summit, the UK committed to increase their funding for global mental health by £30 million. This was in part based on the research prioritisation during the Summit, which was influenced by the Academy workshop outcomes.
- Following the workshop, there was a demand by participants to have a follow up workshop on the social determinants of mental health. This will engage social scientists as well as clinicians to bring forward multidisciplinary next steps for mental health. This workshop is taking place on the 32 October and 1 November. Read more about this workshop here.
The full case study can be downloaded from the download tab on the right.
International Policy Manager
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Head of International Policy
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