In this issue’s World in WAIMH column, we are republishing excerpts from A New England Journal of Medicine review article entitled Mental Health and the Global Agenda by Harvard psychiatrists Anne Becker and Arthur Kleinman. Although infant mental health does not figure directly in this piece, it lays out the history of the growing attention being paid by international bodies to mental health, the growing recognition of the indivisibility of physical and mental health, and the persistent challenges to reducing the burden of mental illness worldwide. Among these challenges are many that affect infant mental health initiatives worldwide: lack of funding for treatment, limited professional work force and training resources, unexamined assumptions about the universality of Euro-American generated treatment interventions which are largely untested in diverse contexts, and above all, widespread stigma that ranges from “subtle and structural” to an “abuse of human rights”.
Brazelton Touchpoints Center,
Boston, United States