The consequences of the unprecedented growth of global trade on development and population health are significantly influenced by global trade policies that have delivered millions from poverty, but have constrained the ability of governments to regulate their economies and protect health. While the effects of global trade policy on health have been documented, mental health considerations have been very limited. This analysis explores the impact of global trade policy on a number of socio-structural determinants of mental health including poverty, social inequality, food security, mental health systems, alcohol consumption, access to pharmaceuticals and occupational health. The evidence reviewed makes a strong argument that global trade is likely to have a significant impact on mental health. However, the mental health outcomes of global trade will be influenced by a host of contextual factors and will therefore be heterogeneous. Preliminary recommendations for discussion are considered.
Global Social Policy (2008) 8 (3) 335-358 [doi: 10.1177/1468018108095632]