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  Mens Sana Monographs
A Monograph Series Devoted To The Understanding Of Medicine, Mental Health, Man, Mind, Music And Their Matrix
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Year : 2013  |  Volume : 11  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 59-67

Reflections on psychiatry and international mental health

Orygen Youth Health Research Centre, Centre for Youth Mental Health, The University of Melbourne. Director, World Health Organization Collaborating Centre in Mental Health, Melbourne, Australia

Correspondence Address:
Helen Herrman
Locked Bag 10, Parkville, Victoria 3052
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0973-1229.104485

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This paper reflects on the needs for close interaction between psychiatry and all partners in international mental health for the improvement of mental health and advancement of the profession, with a particular view to the relationships between mental health, development and human rights. The World Health Organisation identifies strong links between mental health status and development for individuals, communities and countries. In order to improve population mental health, countries need effective and accessible treatment, prevention, and promotion programmes. Achieving adequate support for mental health in any country requires a unified approach. Strong links between psychiatrists, community leaders and patients and families that are based on negotiation and respect, are vital for progress. When strong partnerships exist, they can contribute to community understanding and advancement of psychiatry. This is the first step towards scaling up good quality care for those living with mental illnesses, preventing illnesses in those at risk, and promoting mental health through work with other community sectors. Partnerships are needed to support education and research in psychiatry, and improvements in quality of care wherever psychiatry is practiced, including primary health and community mental health services, hospitals and private practice. There are important roles for psychiatry in building the strength of organisations that champion the advocacy and support roles of service users and family carers, and encouraging partnerships for mental health promotion in the community.

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