Mental health and physical well-being are intimately linked as evidenced by a wealth of clinical research, making the challenge of tackling global mental health also of benefit to global physical health. This interdisciplinary field encompasses more than psychiatry alone but takes an international perspective on the epidemiology of mental disorders, mental health education, mental health care infrastructures, as well as addressing political, financial, cultural and social factors.
In this podcast BMC Medicine Senior Editor Ursula D’Souza speaks to Vikram Patel, co-Director of the Centre for Global Mental Health, for his thoughts on how to close the treatment gap for those with mental, neurological and substance use disorders, particularly in resource limited settings, as well the role of changing perceptions of mental health. A transcript of the podcast is available here as part of the Medicine for global health article series.
“We need to continue to build evidence which focuses on addressing questions about how we can integrate evidence-based packages for care within routine healthcare systems, so that we can inform governments on how they can make their mental health programs more effective and efficient.”
Vikram Patel is a psychiatrist, Professor of International Mental Health and a Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK. In addition to his position as co-Director of the Centre for Global Health, which was jointly established by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the Institute of Psychiatry at Kings Health Partners, he is Honorary Director of the Public Health Foundation of India’s Centre for Mental Health and co-founder of the mental health research non-governmental organisation Sangath. He is also a Fellow of the UK Academy of Medical Sciences and serves on the World Health Organization’s Expert Advisory Group for Mental Health, as well as several national mental health committees based in India.
“What I am really most excited about is that mental health has come out of the closet. […] I think there has been a dramatic change in the attitudes towards mental health in every sector of society in India.”
Patel’s main research interests focus on the social and cultural determinants, epidemiology and treatment of mental disorders in community and primary health care settings in India and other resource limited settings. In more recent years he has begun investigating child mental disorders, developmental disabilities, and how to integrate mental health care with that for other chronic diseases.
The complete list of series articles: