At Long Last: Is mental health poised to take its place on the global health agenda?

Author: 
James Militzer
Publication date: 
9 May 2013

Thursday, May 09, 2013

At Long Last: Is mental health poised to take its place on the global health agenda?

By James Militzer

A survey of 2,000 people across Britain asked which of the following things they'd be most uncomfortable admitting publicly:

  • having a drinking problem
  • going bankrupt
  • being gay
  • having a mental illness

The biggest taboo by far? Mental illness.

It's a stigma that's present in all countries - and that's often even stronger in the developing world. And it's one reason that mental health has traditionally been an afterthought in global health discussions. But there’s a growing sense that this may be changing.

In what the American Public Health Association describes as "a historic first," the American Journal of Public Health has devoted its May 2013 issue to covering the stigma against mental illness in the U.S. and internationally. And at the (packed) Global Mental Health sessions at Unite for Sight’s recent Global Health & Innovation Conference, every presenter commented on the sense of excitement and momentum in the field – as you can see in the videos below.