• Originally from our sister publication, .

A Toronto-based researcher is at the helm of a massive, worldwide study published in Nature that identifies the top global challenges and priorities in mental health.

Abdallah S. Daar, senior scientist with the McLaughlin-Rotman Centre for Global Health at University Health Network (UHN) and the University of Toronto (U of T), co-authored Grand Challenges in Global Mental Health.

The study, which took 18 months to complete, brought together more than 400 international researchers, advocates, clinicians and other experts to identify the major obstacles to improving the lives of people with mental illness around the world.

“Mental illnesses are a problem for the whole of humanity—globally, they contribute a huge burden, and they are poorly dealt with in almost all countries. This is why we need to develop a global list of challenges and priorities,” says Daar.

“For the first time ever, we have provided a clear picture on where the greatest needs lie in terms of tackling global mental health problems … Substantial progress in mental health research can be made over the next decade if research funding agencies focus on these priorities.”

The study’s recommendations, based on criteria that include ability to reduce disease burden, impact on equity, immediacy of impact and feasibility, include:

  • Integrate screening and core packages of services into routine primary healthcare.
  • Reduce the cost and improve the supply of effective medications.
  • Improve children’s access to evidence-based care by trained health providers in low- and middle-income countries.
  • Provide effective and affordable community-based care and rehabilitation.
  • Strengthen the mental health component in the training of all healthcare personnel.

“This research is a remarkable achievement in scope, surveying many participants in different countries and covering such a wide range of illnesses,” says Dr. Sidney H. Kennedy, psychiatrist-in-chief, University Health Network, and professor of psychiatry, University of Toronto.

“It has the potential to transform how we treat mental illness throughout the world by setting key priorities, researching and establishing the most effective treatment interventions, and building a community of researchers and funders who can cooperate internationally.”

Copyright © 2020 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com

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