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The University of Edinburgh: Global Mental Health and Society

Institution The University of Edinburgh View institution profile
Department School of Social and Political Science
Study type Taught


Global Mental Health - interdisciplinary approaches at Edinburgh

  • Do you want to examine how mental health is understood and addressed cross-culturally across the world?

  • Are you interested in the social drivers of poor mental health and ways to address these?

  • Do you want to play a role in transforming mental health care globally?

Mental health and well-being are crucial global health and social welfare policy concerns with significant resources and research devoted to this area.

This interdisciplinary postgraduate programme offers you opportunities to develop:

  • critical perspectives on global mental health policy

  • practice and research

  • space for creating transformative possibilities

  • tools for conceptual and practice innovation

A hybrid academic discipline

Global mental health is emerging as a hybrid academic discipline with academic training programmes, journals, textbooks and research consortiums - primarily in the UK and the USA, but also in Canada and Europe.

Much of this activity has been situated in psychiatry and public health disciplines - with a growing body of scholarly work from other professional and social science disciplines including medical anthropology, social work, international development, and clinical psychology.

The role of the social sciences in global mental health is crucial to:

  • further critical understandings of how conceptions of ‘distress’ and ‘mental health’ are socially, culturally and politically constructed in different contexts

  • theorising the intersections between social and economic development and mental health

  • developing effective interdisciplinary approaches to addressing the mental health-development interface

Debates in mental health care

There is increasing global and local policy emphasis on ‘standardised’ and ‘evidence-based’ approaches to mental health care, which in doing so, potentially neglect three important dimensions, namely:

  • the diversity of understandings of what constitutes ‘mental health’ and ‘mental illness’

  • the complex social, cultural and political dynamics that shape psychological distress

  • the transformative value of inter- and transdisciplinary ways of thinking about and engaging with mental health

This programme will engage you in these current debates and dilemmas.

It will:

  • focus on the culturally, politically and socially situated conceptualisations of mental health

  • address the implications of these multiple understandings for effective policy and practice in the global south and north

Who this programme is for

The programme is aimed at both professionals with backgrounds in:

  • social work

  • international development

  • public health

  • psychology

  • nursing

  • medicine

It is also aimed at graduates in:

  • health studies

  • psychology

  • social anthropology

  • international development

  • other social science disciplines

We welcome applications from people with lived experience.


University of Edinburgh 


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