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A Brief History of Global Mental Health 

A Brief History of Global Mental Health
A Brief History of Global Mental Health

Alex Cohen

, Vikram Patel

, and Harry Minas

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date: 23 June 2021

Despite the apparent newness of global mental health as a field, concerns about mental disorders – e.g., explanatory models and approaches to treatment – have been circulating the globe for thousands of years. This chapter provides an overview of the history of the treatment and services for mental disorders from Ancient Egypt to the present day, paying particular attention to the rise and evolution of institutional care, the move to community-based care and deinstitutionalization, and the emergence of concerns about mental disorders as a public health priority in low- and middle-income countries. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the opportunities and challenges that the field of global mental health is facing currently.

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