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Mental health around the world

Module information>

Academic Direction
King's College London

This module aims to provide a comprehensive introduction to the core themes and methodologies associated with the new field of Global Mental Health.

A comprehensive introduction to the core themes and methodologies associated with the new field of Global Mental Health, namely evidence, research methods and theories associated with all aspects of mental health as these apply to low and middle income country (LMIC) settings.

Topics covered

Main topics include:

  • Introduction of core research methods as well as critiques of the field from the start and encouragement of students to critically appraise strength of evidence, research methods and modes of intervention development and delivery
  • The role of culture and cultural differences, with a particular focus on the tension between the export of universalist Western theories and local understandings of mental health, including ways in which this may be addressed
  • The relevance and critiques of a human rights approach to mental health in LMIC and exploration of the cross-cultural relevance and implications of stigma
  • Mental health in the context of LMIC societies and health systems: including the complex interrelationships between poverty, gender and mental disorders and how mental health fits into broader theories of epidemiological and social change
  • The so-called ‘treatment gap’ between the burden of disease and the availability of services and mental health specialists needed to diagnose, manage and treat mental disorders, in the context of lay understandings of mental health and the role of alternative (non-biomedical) treatment systems
  • Exploration of solutions to the treatment gap, including training non-specialists to deliver mental health interventions (‘task-sharing’) and the potential for collaboration with non-biomedical practitioners
  • Methods for psychological intervention development, evaluation and delivery will be examined and current challenges, including issues associated with scale-up, ensuring quality of care and sustainability will be explored.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module, you will be expected to be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge and critical understanding of the scope and depth of the field of Global Mental Health, including imperialist and medicalisation critiques of the field.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of key theories and evidence regarding key social determinants of mental health, as applied to low and middle income country settings (LMIC).
  • Understand the epidemiological transition, the global burden of disease as they relate to mental health.
  • Understand the role of culture in shaping mental health experiences and understandings and the implications this has for research, diagnosis, treatment and service delivery.
  • Describe the treatment gap and challenges associated with treating mental disorders in LMIC.
  • Critically appraise common modes of psychological intervention development, evaluation and delivery in LMIC.
  • Understand current debates around human rights and mental health.
  • Understand and critically evaluate global mental health research methodologies.
  • Apply knowledge and methodological understanding to address common problems in mental health research and service delivery in LMIC settings.
  • Communicate understanding and application of knowledge effectively in the form of concise and focused essays.


  • Coursework (100%)