DSM-5 in Global Mental Health


Dr. Roberto Lewis Fernandez, Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University speaks on “Novel Uses of DSM-5 in Global Mental Health” at the 2nd Annual Global Mental Health Forum in May 2013.

William Sax – Healing and Rituals

“The logic of modern health care does not admit rituals into it and it cannot do so.”

William Sax, Head of the Department of Anthropology at Heidelberg University, discusses his field work on healing rituals in the Himalayas and the difficulty of finding a place for traditional healing within the institutionalized health system and evidence-based medicine. Dr. Sax voices his concern that rituals shown to be effective such as possession may be marginalized, diluted and excluded in the push for Global Mental Health.

Suman Fernando – Home Grown Mental Health

“In many lower middle income countries there are various ground realities that one has to take on board if you’re going to develop a service that is going to be effective and be sustained.”

In the push for global mental health, there is a pressure to develop mental health systems from the “top down”, using a biomedical model. Dr. Suman Fernando of London Metropolitan University discusses the importance of developing care from the bottom up. A home grown mental health model incorporates the varying cultural, economic, and social realities for each community. Touching on the marketing techniques of some pharmaceutical companies in lower middle income countries, Dr. Fernando emphasizes the need for mental health care to be embedded into a community with local controls or through association with local religious groups, in order to be sustainable and to lessen the threat of corruption.


Community Mental Health and Cultural Therapy in Jamaica

In order to reduce risk factors for children, cultural therapists and psychologists worked with a group of 30 school-aged children with conduct disorders in Allman Town, Jamaica. Working at the school-level, this form of early intervention combined cultural therapy with remedial math, reading, art, crafts and music. In this video the project team, Frederick Hickling and Hilary Robertson-Hickling, both at the University of the West Indies, and Jaswant Guzder at McGill University, discuss the reasoning behind the programme and share its outcomes.



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