Neuropsychiatric disorders attribute for over 10% of the global burden of disease and are the leading contributor to years lived with disability.
Global Leading Categories of Diseases/Disorders
While the physical, social, and economic burden of mental illness is great, mental health workers account for only 1% of the global health workforce and 45% of the world’s population lives in a country with less than one psychiatrist per 100,000 people. Interest in global mental health education and training by psychiatrists and trainees has grown over the past several years.
Global Mental Health: How Are We Doing?
Global mental health involves the study, research, and practice of improving mental health for all people worldwide. It takes into consideration disparities in mental health treatment and care across cultures and countries. Global mental health training in the United States varies across institutions and can touch on various topics including developing cultural competencies, learning how to provide service delivery in limited resource settings, understanding epidemiology in cultural and geographic contexts, learning how to navigate health systems and policies, and finding ways to improve access to care and treatment.
Education and Training
APA addresses topics relevant to global mental health through its various publications. This includes an issue of Focus dedicated to discussing the social determinants of health, working with immigrant populations, and identifying research opportunities and a series in the American Journal of Psychiatry, Perspectives in Global Mental Health, which offers first-hand insight from psychiatrists on case studies from around the world.
Psychiatry and Society: Global Mental Health
Perspectives in Global Mental Health
APA offers a Cultural Competence Curriculum, through the APA Learning Center, in addition to select topics relevant to global mental health.
Quality Improvement Initiatives: International Perspectives
- Presenters: Wolfgang Gaebel, M.D., Tsuyoshi Akiyama, M.D., John S. McIntyre, M.D., Jagannathan Srinivasaraghavan, M.D., Francis G. Lu, M.D.
- Launch Course
Using Biomarkers to Select Treatments: An Illustration From the International Study to Predict Optimized Treatment for Depression (ISPOT-D)
- Presenters: Radu V. Saveanu, M.D., Alan Schatzberg, M.D., Leanne Williams, Ph.D.
- Launch Course
While some psychiatric training programs coordinate exchange opportunities with partnering organizations, others work with local communities to cultivate experience with diverse populations. Examples of formats and curriculum for global mental health education and training in U.S. psychiatric training programs are available from Duke University, George Washington University, Massachusetts General Hospital, the University of Washington , and Yale University. Examples of global mental health research and fellowship opportunities are also available through Columbia University, Harvard University, the University of California, and the National Institute of Mental Health.
APA members interested in connecting with other psychiatrists to discuss trends and topics in global mental health may join the APA Caucus on Global Mental Health and Psychiatry, a special interest group that meets in-person during the APA Annual Meeting.
Policies and Statistics
As a non-governmental member organization of the United Nations, APA follows developments in global mental health policy from various agencies including the National Institutes of Health, the World Health Organization, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, and the World Bank.
2013-2020 Mental Health Action Plan
2014 Mental Health Atlas
Health at a Glance 2013: Psychiatrists and Mental Health Nurses
- Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development
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