Mental health suffers from a major image problem. One in every four people experiences mental health issues — yet more than 40 percent of countries worldwide have no mental health policy. Across the board it seems like we have no idea how to talk about it respectfully and responsibly. Stigma and discrimination are the two […]Continue reading
Why you should listen
In towns and villages that have few clinics, doctors and nurses, one particular need often gets overlooked: mental health. When there is no psychiatrist, how do people get care when they need it? Vikram Patel studies how to treat conditions like depression and schizophrenia in low-resource communities, and he's come up with a powerful model: training the community to help.
Based in Goa for much of the year, Patel is part of a policy group that's developing India's first national mental health policy; he's the co-founder of Sangath, a local NGO dedicated to mental health and family wellbeing. In London, he co-directs the Centre for Global Mental Health at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. And he led the efforts to set up the Movement for Global Mental Health, a network that supports mental health care as a basic human right.
From Sangath's mission statement: "At the heart of our vision lies the ‘treatment gap’ for mental disorders; the gap between the number of people with a mental disorder and the number who receive care for their mental disorders."
What others say
Vikram Patel’s TED talks
Vikram Patel on the TED Blog
Getting treatment for a mental illness when you live in the developing world is hardly as easy as making an appointment with a therapist or psychiatrist. Mental illness is often not treated with the same sense of urgency as physical illness, and resources to provide care are simply not available in many areas. In this […]Continue reading
A vast gulf in care Vikram Patel asks us to imagine two men who live in the same town. They have the same education, the same jobs, and everything else the same. Both present at a hospital with chest pains — but one is treated and one is not. Why? The second one has a […]Continue reading