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.

Course Aimed At: 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.

Pre-Requisite Knowledge Required: 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.


Final Essay (2,500 – 3,000 words): 50%

Final Exam: 50%

Student Contact Time

Lectures: 12 x 75 minutes (total 15 hours)

Seminars: 8 x 75 minutes (total 10 hours)

Reading List

A full and detailed list will be provided nearer to the course date.