What is global mental health?

We use the term global mental health to refer to the mental health of individuals in countries all around the world, with an emphasis on low- and middle-income countries.

In talking about mental health, we also find ourselves talking about its inverse, often referred to in this website as mental disorders. We use the term mental disorders to refer to mental, neurological, or substance use disorders, as well as psycho-social disabilities. We recognize that the term mental disorders comes from a public health vocabulary, and we welcome any preferred alternatives in the discussion forums on this site.

Mental disorders include, among other illnesses, depression, anxiety, other affective disorders (often referred to as common mental disorders, because of their frequency) schizophrenia, bipolar and other forms of psychosis-related illnesses (often called severe mental disorders). They also include intellectual disabilities, neurological disorders such as epilepsy and dementia and  alcohol and drug abuse disorders. Manifestations of mental disorders vary across different cultural contexts and approaches to their prevention, detection and management can also vary accordingly. 

The focus of the Movement is not, however, only on the treatment of mental disorders, but also on their prevention and on the promotion of mental wellbeing.