Academic journal article South African Journal of Psychiatry

Mental Health Research Challenges in Africa

Academic journal article South African Journal of Psychiatry

Mental Health Research Challenges in Africa

Article excerpt

An increasing number of epidemiological mental health studies have been carried out in sub-Saharan Africa in the last decade. However, in developing short-, medium- and long-term strategies, it is clear that further research will have to be carried out in order to provide the evidence necessary to strengthen the mental health care systems of sub-Saharan Africa, say Florence K Baingana, World Bank senior health specialist, Atalay Alem, psychiatrist at Amanuel Psychiatric Hospital, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia, and Rachel Jenkins, director of the WHO UK Collaborating Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College London, writing in the new World Bank publication Disease and Mortality in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Some of the recommended research areas that could be pursued are:

* Cross-sectional and longitudinal studies of mental disorders, including validation of the standardised testing instruments, to establish the epidemiology and causative and risk factors, as well as links to sexual abuse, violence against women, HIV/AIDS and conflicts.

* Multisite studies on the mental well-being of children to establish the incidence and prevalence of mental disorders and links to abuse, malnutrition, conflicts, poverty and vulnerability.

* Stigma and other cultural beliefs. …

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