Vikram Patel On Democratizing Mental Health Care

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Vikram Patel MSc MRCPsych PhD FMedSci is Professor of International Mental Health & Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

In his recent TED talk, Patel presents the shocking statistic that nearly 450 million people are affected by mental illness worldwide.  In wealthy nations, just half receive appropriate care, but in developing countries, close to 90 percent go untreated because psychiatrists and associated mental health professionals are in such short supply.

The situation in the developing world calls for a novel and radical approach.  In his talk, Patel outlines a highly promising approach — training members of communities to give mental health interventions, empowering ordinary people to care for others. Studies have shown that such interventions have positive outcomes and are highly effective mode of care delivery.  Patel calls this the ‘democratization of medical knowledge’, a concept he also advocates for the developed world, albeit in a modified form.

You can watch Prof. Patel’s short presentation below:

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