Global Mental Health and Disability

Anjalene Whittier

While much has been done to combat transmissible illnesses that disproportionately affect low- and middle-income regions, such as HIV and malaria, only recently have non-communicable diseases begun to receive higher levels of traction within these nations. This is particularly true for neuropsychiatric conditions, which often receive <1% of healthcare funding in poorer countries despite accounting for 14% of the global burden of disease. Why is this the case when 1 in 4 people worldwide will be affected by a neuropsychiatric condition during their lives? How can we close the treatment gap for these conditions in regions with fewer resources when gaps still exist in high-income regions?

This course will provide an overarching view of how psychiatric illnesses as well as physical, intellectual, and developmental disabilities are situated within the global context, with a particular focus on low- and middle-income countries. Topics to be covered include barriers and access to care; institutionalisation and asylums; cultural and social determinants of mental health; trauma and recovery; mental health promotion, education, and literacy; and some basic psychiatric epidemiology.

Intended Audience

This course is built to suit undergraduates from any academic background who are interested in learning more about the subject matter. Some knowledge of the social sciences and/or life sciences would be useful, but is not necessary.

Previous Knowledge

There are no prerequisites for this course.

Transferable Knowledge and Skills

Students will learn about a wide range of topics within the realms of psychology, sociology, anthropology, epidemiology, public health, and global health.