1st Edition

The Routledge Handbook of International Development, Mental Health and Wellbeing

Edited By

Laura Davidson

ISBN 9780367027735
Published June 23, 2019 by Routledge
433 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations

USD $250.00

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Book Description

Mental health has always been a low priority worldwide. Yet more than 650 million people are estimated to meet diagnostic criteria for common mental disorders such as depression and anxiety, with almost three-quarters of that burden in low- and middle-income countries. Nowhere in the world does mental health enjoy parity with physical health. Notwithstanding astonishing medical advancements in treatments for physical illnesses, mental disorder continues to have a startlingly high mortality rate. However, despite its widespread neglect, there is now an emerging international imperative to improve global mental health and wellbeing. The UN’s current international development agenda finalised at the end of 2015 contains 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including SDG3, which seeks to ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages. Although much broader in focus than the previous eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the need for worldwide improvement in mental health has finally been recognised. This Handbook addresses the new UN agenda in the context of mental health and sustainable development, examining its implications for national and international policy-makers, decision-makers, researchers and funding agencies. Conceptual, evidence-based and practical discussions crossing a range of disciplines are presented from the world’s leading mental health experts. Together, they explore why a commitment to investing in mental health for the fulfilment of SDG3 ought to be an absolute global priority.

Table of Contents

List of figures and tables

List of contributors

Foreword: The New UN Health Agenda

Jeffrey D. Sachs


The global imperative

1 The global mental health imperative and the role of the World Health Organization within the UN 2030 Agenda

Shekhar Saxena and Laura Davidson

2 The rights to mental health and development

Lawrence O. Gostin and Laura Davidson


Economic perspectives

3 Meeting SDG3: The role of economics in mental health policy

Martin Knapp and Valentina Iemmi

4 The relationship between mental health and poverty in low- and middle-income countries

Judith Bass

5 Mental health and economic development in Vietnam

Chris Underhill, Victoria K. Ngo, and Tam Nguyen

6 Social entrepreneurship and systems thinking about mental illness in low- and middle-income countries

Sean A. Kidd and Kwame McKenzie


Demographic and cultural perspectives

7 Understanding traditional and other culture-based approaches to mental illness in lower- and middle-income contexts

Joseph D. Calabrese

8 Addressing mental health from a gender perspective: Challenges and opportunities in meeting SDG3

Carol Vlassoff

9 Men’s mental health and wellbeing: The global challenge

Svend Aage Madsen

10 The mental health and wellbeing of migrants in the context of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda

Guglielmo Schininà and Karoline Popp

11 The Sustainable Development Goals and child and adolescent mental health in low- and middle-income countries

Cornelius Ani and Olayinka Omigbodun

12 The global challenge of mental health and ageing, and scalable innovations in mental health services for older adults

Stephen J. Bartels



13 Strengthening government policy to achieve Target 3.4 of SDG3

Rachel Jenkins

14 Mental health, disability rights, and equal access to employment: Global challenges in light of the Sustainable Development Goals

Aart Hendriks

15 Prioritising rights-based mental health care in the 2030 Agenda

Dainius Pu¯ras and Julie Hannah

16 Natural and humanitarian disasters, and mental health: Lessons from Haiti

Giuseppe Raviola

17 Paradigm shift: Treatment alternatives to psychiatric drugs, with particular reference to low- and middle-income countries

Peter Lehmann


Legal perspectives

18 Mental disability, the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Rights and Freedoms, and the Sustainable Development Goals

Peter Bartlett

19 The Sustainable Development Goals, psychosocial disability, and the meaning of wellbeing in SDG3: Towards an approach that combines the subjective and objective

David Bilchitz

20 International monitoring and enforcement mechanisms for human rights violations in the global mental health context

Laura Davidson

21 The law as sword and shield: Realising the rights of those with psychosocial disability through international, regional and national complaints systems

Laura Davidson


Country perspectives

22 A case study: Colombia, conflict, and the peace process, from a user-perspective

Salam A. Gómez

23 Legislating on mental health in India to achieve SDG

Amita Dhanda

24 Breaking the restraints: Civil society’s struggle to abolish human rights violations in Israel’s psychiatric system

Sharon Primor and Dahlia Virtzberg

Afterword: Joining up for our future in global mental health

Vikram Patel








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Laura Davidson is a London Barrister at No.5 Chambers and a noted authority on human rights, mental health, disability, and capacity matters. She has both an LLM. in international law and a PhD. from the University of Cambridge, and is a regular visiting academic Fellow at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. Her academic study has included qualitative research on psychosocial disability and trauma in northern Uganda. Dr. Davidson is also an international development consultant, and in 2013 drafted Rwanda’s first mental health legislation. She provides expert advice and training to law firms, NGOs, and governments on all aspects of health care, human rights, justice, and the rule of law.


'This superb collection of chapters, written by over 30 leading experts around the world including the editor, Laura Davidson, comprehensively surveys mental health in the context of international development. Bringing together a range of multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives ….[a] clear message emanating from this book is the inter-connectedness of SDG3 with many of the other SDGs .... [it is] an indispensable and unique tool for what ought to be one of the highest priorities of the SDG era.'

—Foreword by Jeffrey D. Sachs, Special Advisor to UN Secretary-General on the Sustainable Development Goals