|Year : 2019 | Volume
| Issue : 1 | Page : 27-29
Partnerships in global mental health
Orygen, The National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health, Centre for Youth Mental Health, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia
|Date of Submission||30-Jun-2019|
|Date of Decision||09-Jul-2019|
|Date of Acceptance||09-Jul-2019|
|Date of Web Publication||27-Sep-2019|
Prof. Helen Herrman
Orygen, The National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health, Centre for Youth Mental Health, The University of Melbourne, 35 Poplar Road, Parkville, Victoria 3052
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
The United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals set by the UN General Assembly in 2015 include mental health among the targets for health. The mental health professions can play a role in alerting opinion leaders and decision-makers to the importance of equality and social connectedness in combatting problems that stand in the way of social, economic, and personal development. Problems such as child maltreatment and intimate partner violence, safety and security in communities, bullying in schools, and gender, racial, and other forms of discrimination are prevalent in all countries and closely linked with poor mental health and mental ill-health. They need to be tackled through partnerships between community groups and professionals who between them can map out solutions. The solutions necessarily include interventions within health, education, family, and other systems and operate at multiple levels. Among the solutions are the mental health professions engaging directly with people living in adversity as well as helping to mobilize other sources of help that they can be trained to support. The World Social Psychiatry can play an important role by taking an editorial approach that encourages psychiatrists and other mental health professionals to use their expertise to promote participatory approaches and facilitates the mental health work of nonspecialists across the diverse community settings.
Keywords: Global mental health, partnerships, social psychiatry, sustainable development goals
|How to cite this article:|
Herrman H. Partnerships in global mental health. World Soc Psychiatry 2019;1:27-9
| Introduction|| |
Many people in countries worldwide are living in situ ations of persistent, severe, and complex adversity. They may be living in urban slums in low-income countries, dangerous inner city environments in high-income countries, or in places affected by conflict or natural disasters. The profession of psychiatry and other mental health professionals have a vital role in strengthening the capacity of communities to tackle the challenges faced by people in maintaining their mental health in the face of adversity. Global trends that increase adversity are resulting in greater needs in a range of population groups, especially among young women and men, for mental health promotion, for preventing and treating mental ill-health, intervening as early as possible, and for supporting people in recovery.
The approaches used by mental health professionals and others in the field in these settings can also guide the approach to mental health needs for people in less severe circumstances. There are common public health and community development approaches that up to now have been underutilized by the profession of psychiatry and to some extent by the field of social psychiatry. While the core techniques of these disciplines are shared with our fields, we can make stronger efforts to advocate within our professional and organizational groups. I refer to working in partnership with other professional and community groups and mobilizing community support to define and work toward the changes needed to promote health and prevent and treat illness across the life course.
| The Global Mental Health Agenda|| |
The United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a collection of 17 goals set by the UN General Assembly in 2015, with mental health included among the targets in the health goal. These goals are a reminder that the problems of child maltreatment and intimate partner violence, safety and security in communities, bullying in schools, and gender, racial, and other forms of discrimination are prevalent in all countries. The wealth of a country does not in itself diminish them. The roles of our professions are critical in alerting opinion leaders and decision-makers that equality, social connectedness, and mental health are essential to as well as the results of social and economic development.
The Lancet Commission on global mental health “… grasps the opportunity presented by the SDGs to broaden the global mental health agenda from a focus on reducing the treatment gap to the improvement of mental health for whole populations and reducing the contribution of mental disorders to the global burden of disease.” It describes the following four foundational pillars for this reframed agenda: mental health as a global public good; the gradients in mental health and mental ill-health in all populations; the complex interactions of social, environmental, and personal influences on the mental health status of each person; and mental health as “a fundamental human right for all people that requires a rights-based approach to protect the welfare of people with mental disorders and those at risk of poor mental health, and to enable and environment that promotes mental health for all.” This report can be an inspiration for the World Social Psychiatry as it considers its contribution to global mental health.
| Partnerships|| |
It is fundamental to effective practice for professional and discipline groups to work with each other, across health care and other community sectors, including family welfare, schools, and work settings. Primary health care and mental health professionals, psychiatrists, social workers, nurses, drug and alcohol workers, community workers, aged care and youth workers, all need contact and mutual understanding. Equally fundamental is the partnerships with community and civil society groups, including service users and family carers for those people living with mental ill-health.
There are two vital sets of changes. First are those that tackle the training of mental health professionals. Their contribution and availability in responding to the mental health needs of people living in adversity require capacity building through training and experience in a range of competencies. They need to act as trainers and supporters of nonspecialists, as direct responders who can work effectively in complex settings with a special focus on human rights and cultural competencies and on tackling stigma, and as advocates for policy and practice that support mental health in the communities.
The second vital set of changes is establishing (1) the trialogue, the interconnection of service users, family carers, and mental health practitioners in a neutral environment and (2) the best practices for mental health practitioners and organizations in working with service users and family carers in clinical, training, research, and service management settings.
| The Role of World Social Psychiatry|| |
The World Social Psychiatry can play an important role by taking an editorial approach that encourages psychiatrists and other mental health professionals to use their expertise to promote participatory approaches and facilitate the mental health work of nonspecialists across the diverse community settings. It can play a vital role in highlighting evidence and experience as professionals engage with other providers and civil society in implementing the positive provisions of the UN convention on the rights of people with disabilities. The journal may become a meeting point for those groups interested in a broad approach to developing initiatives on suicide prevention. It can highlight the needs of young women and men as well as elderly people living in adversity, groups who tend to be underrepresented in research, practice, and policymaking for suicide prevention.
The World Social Psychiatry can take a position at the forefront of thinking and action in relation to emerging problems such as the mental health needs of the tens of millions of displaced people in low- and middle-income countries, and the prescription opioid epidemics in a number of high-income countries, especially in North America and Europe. It can also highlight the possibilities as well as the dangers of the use of digital technologies for mental health. The World Social Psychiatry can become a vital forum for people interested to follow the best evidence and experience in these topics. The Journal can call for changes in professional training and for laws and policies at national and international levels that increase safety and security in homes and families.
The World Social Psychiatry emerges at a time of gathering momentum in global mental health, alongside significant changes for the professional groups who can support, shape, and sustain the momentum. I join in congratulating the editors on publishing the inaugural issue of the World Social Psychiatry and look forward to seeing it prosper.
Financial support and sponsorship
Conflicts of interest
There are no conflicts of interest.
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