This editorial announces the launch of the PLoS Medicine series on Global Mental Health Practice, and issues a call for case studies that can help broaden our understanding of global mental health in \"real-life\" contexts. The series was initiated by the lead author (VP), who is joined by two other leaders in global mental health (RP and CL) to serve as guest editors. Together, they bring an international, broad, and multidisciplinary perspective that will assist the PLoS Medicine senior Magazine editor (JC) in developing this vital series. The series aims to address the gap between public health approaches to mental health, exemplified by two series in The Lancet and clinical approaches to addressing mental disorders (such as the packages of care published in this journal and efficacy studies often published in specialist psychiatric journals). Lying between these two realms is a niche for demonstrating how the principles of global mental health are put into practice in real-world contexts. These principles, reflected in the goals of international efforts such as the Movement for Global Mental Health, explicitly aim to (1) improve access to evidence-based care for people with mental, neurological, or substance use disorders and (2) promote the human rights of people affected by these disorders. Articles in the PLoS Medicine series will report a diverse range of health interventions from around the world where action has demonstrated tangible improvements in one or both of these goals.
A key motivation for this series is to emphasize the importance of \"practice-based evidence,\" by placing value on the experiences and impact of interventions in real-world settings as evidence for implementation. This area is especially rich for global mental health interventions in low- and middle-income countries, which may be difficult to subject to a definitive evaluation of effectiveness such as a controlled trial. The editors believe that such case studies provide useful evidence, which should be disseminated widely so they can influence practice development. In particular, they are interested in interventions that are innovative and delivered in low-resource settings where the treatment gap is often largest. The series addresses the need for greater awareness of global mental health in practice, and builds on PLoS Medicine's interest and leadership in global mental health.
Patel, V.; Jenkins, R.; Lund, C. Putting Evidence into Practice: The PLoS Medicine Series on Global Mental Health Practice. PLoS Medicine (2012) 9 (5) e1001226. [DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1001226]