May 30, 2012

New Study Shows Best Ways To Help Mental Health

A new series on the best ways to help people with mental health problems around the world is launched in this week's PLoS Medicine.

Writing in an editorial, the editors of PLoS Medicine together with key international mental health experts say: "Today we are delighted to announce the launch of the PLoS Medicine series on Global Mental Health Practice, and to issue a call for case studies that can help broaden our understanding of global mental health in "real-life" contexts."

The series aims to address the gap between public health approaches to mental health, and clinical approaches to addressing mental disorders. The authors explain: "Lying between these two realms is a niche for demonstrating how the principles of global mental health are put into practice in real-world contexts."

A key motivation for this series is to emphasize the importance of practice-based evidence by placing value on the experiences of interventions in real-world settings.

The authors explain: "This area is especially rich for global mental health interventions that occur in low- and middle- income countries, which may be difficult to subject to a definitive evaluation of effectiveness, such as a controlled trial. Nonetheless, we believe that such case studies provide useful evidence that should be disseminated widely so they can influence practice development. In particular we are interested in interventions that are innovative and delivered in low resource settings where the treatment gap is often largest."

The authors call for further contributions: "We welcome contributions from a wide variety of authors and institutions, including health activists, people affected by mental disorders, non-governmental organizations, and researchers. We are particularly interested in featuring case studies by groups or individuals who rarely have a voice in medical journals."


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