Capacity Building in Global Mental Health Research

Abstract

Research-generated information about mental disorders is crucial in order to establish the health needs in a given setting, to propose culturally apt and cost-effective individual and collective interventions, to investigate their implementation, and to explore the obstacles that prevent recommended strategies from being implemented. Yet the capacity to undertake such research in low- and middle-income countries is extremely limited. This article describes two methods that have proved successful in strengthening, or that have the potential to strengthen, mental health research capacity in low-resource settings. We identify the central challenges to be faced, review current programs offering training and mentorship, and summarize the key lessons learned. A structured approach is proposed for the career development of research staff at every career stage, to be accompanied by performance monitoring and support. A case example from the Mental Health and Poverty Project in sub-Saharan Africa illustrates how this approach can be put into practice—in particular, by focusing upon training in core transferrable research skills.

Citation

Thornicroft, G.; Cooper, S.; Van Bortel, T.; Kakuma, R.; Lund, C. Capacity Building in Global Mental Health Research. Harvard Review of Psychiatry (2012) 20 (1) 13-24. [DOI: 10.3109/10673229.2012.649117]

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