Community Mental Health Competencies: A New Vision for Global Mental Health

Rochelle Burgess and Kaaren Mathias

This chapter takes interest in defining the notion of ‘community’ within global mental health. Specifically, it seeks to elaborate on the psychosocial processes that enable the promotion of mental health in an era where ‘community-level’ responses form the core of treatment approaches (see Hanlon et al. 2010; WHO 2010). It argues that ‘community engagement’ for mental health is a concept largely unexplored and narrowly conceptualised, with serious implications for service outcomes. It is widely argued that ‘community approaches’ must be locally grounded. To achieve such ends, action that extends beyond the scope of most psychosocial forms of community interventions is required (Burgess 2014; Campbell and Cornish 2010). This chapter presents two brief case studies exploring multiple approaches to the idea of ‘community’ mental health from around the globe. It highlights the opportunities and challenges presented by a ‘community mental health competency’ approach, anchored in a perspective where community voices and realities actively shape responses

R. Burgess (*)

Centre of Primary Health and Social Care, London Metropolitan University, London, UK

Health, Community and Development Research Group, London School of Economics, London, UK

K. Mathias

Emmanuel Hospital Association, New Delhi, India

Centre for Epidemiology and Global Health, University of Umea, Umea, Sweden © The Author(s) 2017

R.G. White et al. (eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of Sociocultural Perspectives on Global Mental Health, DOI 10.1057/978-1-137-39510-8_11

and enable communities to become self-determining agents of their own mental well-being.

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