Global Mental Health in Low Income Countries
David Ndetei, University of Nairobi
Kenya, a low income country, faces a variety of challenges in the provision of mental health services. An overall lack of personnel to provide mental health services, exacerbated by the majority of available personnel being stationed in high income (urban) areas is one of the main challenges. Other challenges include: poverty and lack of financial resources to access available services, low mental health literacy, high levels of stigma and lack of investment in mental health by the government due to competing priorities for resources. Despite these challenges, with research and innovation it is possible to provide mental health services that are affordable, appropriate, available and accessible within the prevailing socio-cultural and economic situation. Many opportunities for research and the delivery of mental health services especially within the primary healthcare system exist. With mutually beneficial partnerships for the exchange of ideas and expertise, the dream of mental health for all can be realized.
David M. Ndetei, MBChB (Nairobi), DPM (London), MRCPsych, FRCPsych(UK), MD, (Nairobi), DSc (Nairobi), Certificate in Psychotherapy (London), is Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Nairobi, Kenya and the Founding Director of the Africa Mental Health Foundation – a Non-Governmental Organization dedicated to research for evidence-based policy and practice in mental health, and promotion of neurological health and healthy behaviour. His passion is research to generate evidence for policy and best practice in the provision of affordable, appropriate, available and accessible mental health services for all. He is the current Chair of the Africa Division of the Royal College of Psychiatrists (UK) and Zone 14 (East, Central and South Africa) representative of the World Psychiatric Association (WPA). He is also a member of the World Mental Health Federation, the Kenya Psychiatric Association and a member of the Kenya Medical Research Institute, National Ethical Research Committee. He has served as the Principal Investigator for nearly all Kenyan published clinical and community epidemiological studies on mental health, authored six books and 21 monographs, and over 250 publications in peer reviewed journals.