University of Edinburgh: Global Mental Health and Society

InstitutionUniversity of Edinburgh View institution profile
Department School of Social and Political Science
Study type Taught


Mental health and well-being are crucial global health and social welfare policy concerns with significant resources and research devoted to this area. This inter-disciplinary post-graduate programme offers you opportunities to develop critical perspectives on global mental health policy, practice and research, space for creating transformative possibilities and tools for conceptual and practice innovation.

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 inter-disciplinary approaches to addressing the mental health-development interface.

However, there are as yet no social science led post-graduate global mental health programmes in the UK.

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 and the transformative value of inter- and trans-disciplinary ways of thinking about and engaging with mental health. This proposed programme will engage you in these current debates and dilemmas. It will focus on the culturally, politically, and socially situated conceptualisations of mental health and address the implications of these multiple understandings for effective policy and practice in the global south and north.

The programme is aimed at both professionals with backgrounds in social work, international development, public health, psychology, nursing and medicine as well as graduates in health studies, psychology, social anthropology, international development and other relevant disciplines.


University of Edinburgh 

 University of Edinburgh Influencing the world since 1583 
The University of Edinburgh is one of the world's top universities, consistently ranked in the world top 50, and ranked 20th in the 2020 QS World University Rankings. Our entrepreneurial and cross-disciplinary culture attracts not only students but also staff from some 156 countries, creating a unique Edinburgh experience.

We provide a stimulating working, learning, and teaching environment with access to excellent facilities and attract the world's best, from Nobel Prize winning laureates to future explorers, pioneers and inventors.

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