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Lancet Psychiatry. 2015 Feb;2(2):178-85. doi: 10.1016/S2215-0366(15)00014-0. Epub 2015 Jan 28.

Global mental health and neuroscience: potential synergies.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa. Electronic address:
Department of Epidemiology, Shanghai Mental Health Center, Shanghai, People's Republic of China.
Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction, Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada.
Department of Psychiatry and MRC/Wellcome Trust Behavioural and Clinical Neuroscience Institute, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom.
Head of Science Strategy, Performance & Impact Science, Wellcome Trust, London, UK.
Department of Population Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Public Health Foundation of India, London, United Kingdom.


Global mental health has emerged as an important specialty. It has drawn attention to the burden of mental illness and to the relative gap in mental health research and services around the world. Global mental health has raised the question of whether this gap is a developmental issue, a health issue, a human rights issue, or a combination of these issues-and it has raised awareness of the need to develop new approaches for building capacity, mobilising resources, and closing the research and treatment gap. Translational neuroscience has also advanced. It comprises an important conceptual approach to understanding the neurocircuitry and molecular basis of mental disorders, to rethinking how best to undertake research on the aetiology, assessment, and treatment of these disorders, with the ultimate aim to develop entirely new approaches to prevention and intervention. Some apparent contrasts exist between these fields; global mental health emphasises knowledge translation, moving away from the bedside to a focus on health systems, whereas translational neuroscience emphasises molecular neuroscience, focusing on transitions between the bench and bedside. Meanwhile, important opportunities exist for synergy between the two paradigms, to ensure that present opportunities in mental health research and services are maximised. Here, we review the approaches of global mental health and clinical neuroscience to diagnosis, pathogenesis, and intervention, and make recommendations for facilitating an integration of these two perspectives.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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