"For any social movement, flexibility and trust are vital to bind its diverse communities to a central goal.
built on a partnership of professionals and civil society is essential to mutually strengthen
all global mental health communities." Patel, Collins, Copeland, Kakuma, Katontoka, Lamichhane, Naik, and Skeen.
I have poured over this quote many times, focusing mostly on the need for "selfless moral struggle" in order to work effectively together. I abbreviate this phrase as "SMS" and then liken it to an SMS text being sent to all of our colleagues in global health and related areas. I also liken it to an SOS message being sent to all the world regarding the urgent need to scale up mental health resources on behalf of humans with MNS conditions and others in dire need of psychosocial support. So, keep these two linked terms in mind--SMS and SOS--as you partner with others for human health. And if you want, keep them in mind as you watch this vintage song by Sting, originally released in 1978, "Message in A Bottle." http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1OyfpS6pEcQ "It seems I'm are not alone in being alone..."
*GMH and its Discontents (a summary of conference/workshop at McGill University in July 2012 on GMH: Bridging the Perspectives of Cultural Psychology and Public Health)
*Justice and well-being (Isaac Prilleltensky; presented at the Canadian Counseling and Psychotherapy Association, Ottawa, 20 May 2011). Power point presentation: click here
*World Medical Association, Declartaion of Geneva, comparing the original 1948 and current 2006 versions (there are several adjustments)
3. More Maps
Do We Need More Maps?
To begin, it would be helpful to identify (or develop) a "GHmap for mhGAP." In other words, how can we relate Global Mental Health (GMH), as typified by the WHO mhGAP program, to the broader domain of Global Health (GH). Taking this a step further, we understand that world problems are, as stated in the inaugural issue of the International Perspectives in Psychology, "imbedded in economic, environmental, political, and social contexts" (August 2011, inside cover). World problems of course also include problems addressed within the overlapping doamins of GMH and GH. Hence, utilizing (or developing) a "macro map" as a contextual grid for GMH-GH could be very handy indeed. Such a macro map would seem to be a core pervue of the area of International Relations, a broad field of study which is currently very popular in academic settings. So at the bradest
And More Maps (Guidelines)?
Perhaps a fourth map is also necessary which would be more of a personal map of values which guide our work in GMH. It could inlcude a individual's demarcation of personal ethical principles and personal moral convictions which we aspire to emulate. Related to this personal map is another map--a consensually-derived ethical map for GMH. One related example that crosses national boundaries is the 2008 Universal Declaration of Principles for Psychologists endorsed by the International Union of Psychological Science and the Intenrationa lAssociation of Applied Psychology (four principles: respect for the dignity of persons and peoples, competent caring for the well-being of persons and peoples, integrity, and professional and scientific responsibility to society. A related consensually-derived document to also review is the 2007 Principles of Partnership by the Global Humanitarian Platform, a group which brings together United Nations and non-United Nations humanitarian organizations (five principles: equality, transparency, result-orientated approach, responsibility, complementarity). See also the World Association of Non-Governmental Organization's Code of Ethics and Conduct for NGOs (2004).
4. Some Critiques of GMH
GMH is not without its critics. Here are some examples which critique certain emphases and perceived emphases of GMH.
[Moderator input: A helpful review of some of the concerns with GMH--a good place for a "one-stop" overview. One thing among many that I appreciate in the article is the position that it is important to recognise the influences and agendas that are shaping what and how things are done in any field of global health. Yet I continue to want to see concrete examples and suggestions for how to go about helping the millions of humans in distress, especially the poor, regardless of the nosological systems being used or not used. Further and from my perspective, it is not clear that the GMH being typified in the article represents core GMH thinking/practice--GMH of course is a diverse domain and there are many emphases that reflect GMH's understanding and prioritising of cultural formulations of distress, for example. If I could summarise one large part of the critiques of GMH it would be the reminder to make sure that we "humanise GMH"--that is that we make sure that the humanity of the recipients of GMH services is preserved and prioritised and that the human quaities of empathy and authentic care are not lost as we apply manuals and good practice guides and statistics across peoples, cultures, and communities. Doing GMH well is not easy.
Just a short note (July 2014), to say that it would be helpful to consensually address the main critiques that have been directed towards (against) the GMH movement over the last several years. There is much to appreciate in these critiques as well as much to challenge. Perhaps one of the unifying (and extreme) critiques could be this: GMH proponents are trying to naively/irresponsibly/manipulatively/lucratively/selfishly/imperialistically and above all harmfully import "Western" approaches to mental health (diagnosis, treatment, pharmacology, mindset) in spite of the mixed evidence-bases on efficacy and cultural traditions/practices for health and healing. There are unspoken agendas and power bases that exploit fellow humans in distress and which need to be confronted. Transcultural psychology/psychiatry and public health approaches do not adequately address these problems with GMH. Mainstream GMH, which is coalescing into a more organised movement since perhaps 2008, and as proffered by WHO and MGMH, is at best largely irrelevant for huge cultural groupings of humanity and at worst is highly destructive, For a more thorough articulation of some serious critiques of GMH, see