Increasingly, nations are being encouraged by supranational organizations such as the United Nations (UN) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to think of mental health as a global concern and to develop local mental health services in ways that are consistent with internationally recognized challenges and solutions.
While access to formal mental health services and care is highly variable from one country to the next (and within countries), with more than 40 per cent of countries currently having no mental health policy, even in wealthy nations the extent of unmet need for mental health care can be high. In general terms, mental illness exists in poor environmental conditions and the evidence indicates that this is so in all countries.
As an entry point to the course, you are invited to consider the relationship between access to resources and mental health/illness. Over a decade ago Kleinman (2009) asserted that a significant barrier to global mental health is moral in that individuals with mental illness exist within poor environmental conditions and that governments, as stewards of the citizenry, have failed to protect them. To what extent do you consider Kleinman’s assertion applies in 2020?