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Symposium: Mental Health in Developing Countries

Location: Munich, Germany

Date: 04.12.2010

The 2nd Symposium on "Mental Health in Developing Countries", conducted on 04 December 2010 by i.nez (International Network for Co-operation in Mental Health) and CIHLMU, delivered a wide spectrum of issues concerning policies and practices in the field of mental health, with special focus on circumstances in developing countries. The symposium is part of the curriculum of the PhD-Program International Health at CIHLMU, but beyond the group of PhD-students, the symposium was attended by more than 70 participants of a very diverse background.

For a long time "Mental Health" has been the Cinderella of health care, whether in OECD countries or in developing countries. Attempts to introduce mental health on the agenda for global public health are progressing only slowly.

Over half a billion of the world’s population are suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders or from alcohol or drug dependence, the vast majority of them in developing countries. Most of them receive no appropriate treatment - many are stigmatized with prejudice and social exclusion. This leads to serious psychological, physical, social, and economic damage.

At least 20% - 30% of patients in developing countries who visit primary care facilities suffer from one or more neuropsychiatric disorders. Particularly noteworthy are chronic illnesses such as: depression, substance dependence, schizophrenia, epilepsy and dementia.

Mental health services should not be a privilege in rich countries - mental health is of enormous importance in low income countries both for the individual and for the development of entire regions.

This symposium intends to give an overview of the importance of mental health for developing countries. Reports from Africa and Asia illustrated various aspects of the problem.

Organized by:
Dr. Wolfgang Krahl, i.nez - International Network for Cooperation in Mental Health
Prof. Matthias Siebeck, Center for International Health
Prof. Norbert Müller, Global Mental HealthLMU

Symposium Flyer (PDF 130,36 KB)