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The Routledge Handbook of International Development, Mental Health and Wellbeing

The Routledge Handbook of International Development, Mental Health and Wellbeing

Edited by: Laura Davidson

Purchase the book on: Routledge

Book Description

Mental health has always been a low priority worldwide. Yet more than 650 million people are estimated to meet diagnostic criteria for common mental disorders such as depression and anxiety, with almost three-quarters of that burden in low- and middle-income countries. Nowhere in the world does mental health enjoy parity with physical health. Notwithstanding astonishing medical advancements in treatments for physical illnesses, mental disorder continues to have a startlingly high mortality rate. However, despite its widespread neglect, there is now an emerging international imperative to improve global mental health and wellbeing. The UN’s current international development agenda finalised at the end of 2015 contains 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including SDG3, which seeks to ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages. Although much broader in focus than the previous eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the need for worldwide improvement in mental health has finally been recognised. This Handbook addresses the new UN agenda in the context of mental health and sustainable development, examining its implications for national and international policy-makers, decision-makers, researchers and funding agencies. Conceptual, evidence-based and practical discussions crossing a range of disciplines are presented from the world’s leading mental health experts. Together, they explore why a commitment to investing in mental health for the fulfilment of SDG3 ought to be an absolute global priority.

Table of Contents

List of figures and tablesList of contributorsForeword: The New UN Health Agenda

Jeffrey D. Sachs

PART I The global imperative

1 The global mental health imperative and the role of the World Health Organization within the UN 2030 AgendaShekhar Saxena and Laura Davidson

2 The rights to mental health and developmentLawrence O. Gostin and Laura Davidson

PART II Economic perspectives

3 Meeting SDG3: The role of economics in mental health policyMartin Knapp and Valentina Iemmi

4 The relationship between mental health and poverty in low- and middle-income countriesJudith Bass

5 Mental health and economic development in VietnamChris Underhill, Victoria K. Ngo, and Tam Nguyen

6 Social entrepreneurship and systems thinking about mental illness in low- and middle-income countriesSean A. Kidd and Kwame McKenzie

PART III Demographic and cultural perspectives

7 Understanding traditional and other culture-based approaches to mental illness in lower- and middle-income contextsJoseph D. Calabrese

8 Addressing mental health from a gender perspective: Challenges and opportunities in meeting SDG3Carol Vlassoff

9 Men’s mental health and wellbeing: The global challengeSvend Aage Madsen

10 The mental health and wellbeing of migrants in the context of the 2030 Sustainable Development AgendaGuglielmo Schininà and Karoline Popp

11 The Sustainable Development Goals and child and adolescent mental health in low- and middle-income countriesCornelius Ani and Olayinka Omigbodun

12 The global challenge of mental health and ageing, and scalable innovations in mental health services for older adultsStephen J. Bartels

PART IV Policy

13 Strengthening government policy to achieve Target 3.4 of SDG3Rachel Jenkins

14 Mental health, disability rights, and equal access to employment: Global challenges in light of the Sustainable Development GoalsAart Hendriks

15 Prioritising rights-based mental health care in the 2030 AgendaDainius Pu¯ras and Julie Hannah

16 Natural and humanitarian disasters, and mental health: Lessons from HaitiGiuseppe Raviola

17 Paradigm shift: Treatment alternatives to psychiatric drugs, with particular reference to low- and middle-income countriesPeter Lehmann

PART V Legal perspectives

18 Mental disability, the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Rights and Freedoms, and the Sustainable Development GoalsPeter Bartlett

19 The Sustainable Development Goals, psychosocial disability, and the meaning of wellbeing in SDG3: Towards an approach that combines the subjective and objectiveDavid Bilchitz

20 International monitoring and enforcement mechanisms for human rights violations in the global mental health contextLaura Davidson

21 The law as sword and shield: Realising the rights of those with psychosocial disability through international, regional and national complaints systemsLaura Davidson

PART VI Country perspectives

22 A case study: Colombia, conflict, and the peace process, from a user-perspective

Salam A. Gómez

23 Legislating on mental health in India to achieve SDGAmita Dhanda

24 Breaking the restraints: Civil society’s struggle to abolish human rights violations in Israel’s psychiatric systemSharon Primor and Dahlia VirtzbergAfterword: Joining up for our future in global mental health

Vikram Patel




Laura Davidson is a London Barrister at No.5 Chambers and a noted authority on human rights, mental health, disability, and capacity matters. She has both an LLM. in international law and a PhD. from the University of Cambridge, and is a regular visiting academic Fellow at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. Her academic study has included qualitative research on psychosocial disability and trauma in northern Uganda. Dr. Davidson is also an international development consultant, and in 2013 drafted Rwanda’s first mental health legislation. She provides expert advice and training to law firms, NGOs, and governments on all aspects of health care, human rights, justice, and the rule of law.


‘This superb collection of chapters, written by over 30 leading experts around the world including the editor, Laura Davidson, comprehensively surveys mental health in the context of international development. Bringing together a range of multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives ….[a] clear message emanating from this book is the inter-connectedness of SDG3 with many of the other SDGs …. [it is] an indispensable and unique tool for what ought to be one of the highest priorities of the SDG era.’

—Foreword by Jeffrey D. Sachs, Special Advisor to UN Secretary-General on the Sustainable Development Goals

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