Global mental health: Strategies for staying current

Psychologists can easily access current updates on global mental health issues by visiting the resources presented in this article.

By Kelly O'Donnell, PsyD

GMH Overview

Global mental health is a burgeoning domain of research, advocacy and practice. It is increasingly being recognized and integrated into the international health, humanitarian and development sectors including the emerging Sustainable Development Goals Post 2015 Agenda. Grounded in the mental health disciplines, public health and human rights, GMH also continues its recognizable flow as a social movement prioritizing vulnerable populations: those among the estimated 450 million people who have mental, neurological or substance use conditions, who are marginalized by poverty, stigmatized for their conditions and/or have no access to quality mental health services.

“GMH is an international, interdisciplinary, and multi-sectoral domain, which promotes human wellbeing, the right to health, and equity in health for all. It encourages healthy behaviors and lifestyles; is committed to preventing and treating mental, neurological, and substance use conditions (MNS); and seeks to improve policies and programs, professional practices and research, advocacy and awareness, and social and environmental factors that affect health and wellbeing. Psychology, as a vast field of practice and practitioners serving humanity, plays a central role in the GMH domain.”
–Kelly O’Donnell, Global Mental Health: Finding Your Niches and Networks, Psychology International (March 2012, p. 10).

Staying Current with GMH

More details on the following GMH flows listed can be found at GMH-Map.

GMH Flow 1: Media Matters
GMH Flow 2: Global Health and Development Agendas
GMH Flow 3: News and Views
GMH Flow 4: Internet Hubs
GMH Flow 5: Research Compilations
GMH Flow 6: Training
GMH Flow 7: Conferences

Turning updates into action

GMH is a vast domain of challenges and opportunities for mental health professionals who want to leverage their skills on behalf of global well-being. In addition to skill sets, it also requires a mind-set that highly values human dignity and worth, staying updated, and venturing across disciplines, cultures, sectors and often our own comfort zones, in order to promote quality health for all.

“Our duty is to turn hope into action through hard work, commitment, skill, and integrity. With passion but most of all with compassion, we can build the future that your people want and that our world needs.”
– U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon; final quote in the video report, U. N. Year in Review 2013.


This article builds upon two previous articles on GMH orientation in Psychology International: "A Resource Map for Connecting and Contributing" (July 2011) and “Finding Your Niches and Networks” (March 2012). It is also part of the GMH-Map project which researches, organizes, and shares important GMH resources. The principle article in the project, brings together the work of many colleagues by extensively highlighting materials from the last two decades of GMH developments: “Global Mental Health: A Resource Primer for Exploring the Domain" (International Perspectives in Psychology: Research Practice, Consultation (July 2012)). The full article can be found here GMH-Map