Today PLoS Medicine launches a new series on the best ways to help people with mental health problems around the world. The series aims to address the gap between public health approaches to mental health, and clinical approaches to addressing mental disorders: 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, say the editors. Guest editors Vikram Patel (India), Rachel Jenkins (UK), and Crick Lund (South Africa) join the PLoS Medicine editors in launching the series on Global Mental Health Practice.
In this first installment of the series, case studies from South Africa and Afghanistan are reported. Simone Honikman and colleagues examine the Perinatal Mental Health Project in Cape Town, which delivered mental health care to pregnant women in a collaborative, step-wise manner, making use of existing resources in primary care. Peter Ventevogel and colleagues describe their efforts to integrate brief, practice-oriented mental health training into the Afghanistan health care system as it was being rebuilt.
In the editorial introducing the series we also issue a Call for Papers reporting case studies that can help broaden our understanding of global mental health in “real-life” contexts. Case studies must report global health interventions where action has demonstrated tangible improvements in one or both of the established global mental health goals: (1) to improve access to evidence-based care for people with mental, neurological, or substance use disorders and (2) to promote the human rights of people affected by these disorders. Case studies can describe interventions from any country, and should focus on (1) mental health care interventions in practice or (2) mental health policy reform or legislative change that has led to improvements in access to care and in the human rights of people with mental health conditions.
Studies that describe innovative interventions delivered in low-resource settings are of particular interest. Articles that provide only descriptions of processes will not be eligible for the series, nor will case reports or case series.
The articles appear in the journal’s Health in Action section (part of the PLoS Medicine Magazine), and authors should use our standard guidance.
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.