Feb 1st 2016 – Global Mental Health In An Era Of Pharmaceutical Promotion

The effective support of mental health is one of the most important health care challenges of our time.

In many low-income countries, the “treatment gap,” the gap between the number of those affected with mental health disorders and the number who receive effective care, is as high as 80 per cent. Individuals suffering from mental illnesses in these countries may also be victims of human rights violations, stigma and discrimination.

At the same time, mental health care in the West has been highly influenced by commercial interests. Simply extending popular Western concepts and approaches to developing countries may play into the pharmaceutical industry‚Äôs efforts to expand into “emerging markets.” We face the question: What specific global mental health initiatives may be helpful?

Dr. Elia Abi-Jaoude works with children and adults with mental health disorders. He is also an activist for the protection of patients with mental health issues in research and medicine, and the co-author of a recent landmark publication about the treatment of mental health.