#studyGMH: Celebrating the next generation of global mental health innovators

Student Month Blog Series: An Introduction


Grace Ryan and Anne-Claire Stona introduce the MHIN April blog series on global mental health education and student's experiences​

Back in 2012, on our first day of the first class of the world’s first Master’s-level programme in global mental health, our Course Director Alex Cohen asked us a seemingly simple question: “What is mental health?”

The colourful, critical, chaotic discussion that ensued was one of many that came to characterise our programme. There was never a right answer, only the occasional, hard-won consensus, and only after days and weeks and months of ideological grappling between medical doctors, NGO workers, researchers, mental health specialists, service users and other students and educators from diverse cultural and professional backgrounds.

We joined the programme expecting to study a “global” (i.e. “international”) subject. Through these discussions, we came to appreciate “global” as “holistic”, “cross-disciplinary”, “comprehensive”— encompassing a broad view of mental health and of the people and perspectives needed to effect real change. Those people include us, as students.

This month on MHIN, we are celebrating the next generation of global mental health innovators, the diverse body of students around the world who conduct original research and add value to existing projects and programmes, participate in critical debates that are changing the face of the field itself, and bring essential training and manpower to some of the most under-resourced settings. Each week, you will hear directly from current and recent students and their educators as they discuss what it means to #studyGMH in this MHIN blog series.

"we are celebrating the next generation of global mental health innovators"

At the end of the month, we will be co-hosting a session at the inaugural International Mental Health Congress (IMHC) in Lille, titled “A multi-disciplinary global mental health: What students can contribute” (Session 12, 28 April 2015). The aim will be to examine how students can and do contribute to mental health programmes worldwide, how best to engage and mentor them to maximise benefits both to these programmes and to the students themselves, and what should be the essential components of effective training in global mental health to produce the array of professionals needed to advance the field.

Registration for IMHC is still open, with reduced fees for undergraduate and postgraduate students, but you don’t have to come all the way to Lille to join the conversation. Follow #studyGMH on Twitter, or sign up as a MHIN member to post your comments and questions — either directly on the blog pages or in the new MHIN Forum. Tell us why you #studyGMH.

More in the #studyGMH series

  • Alex Cohen explains how the Centre for Global Mental Health MSc in London is forging new networks of global mental health innovators
  • Current and past students from the Centre for Global Mental Health MSc share their experiences in the programme​
  • MHIN infographic shares top tips for students and trainees trying to make the most of their educational opportunities
  • Carla Marienfield describes the origins of the Yale Global Mental Health Programme
  • Current and past trainees from Yale discuss their experiences in the programme
  • Crick Lund shows how the AFFIRM Fellowship contributes to capacity-building in sub-Saharan Africa
  • Current and past fellows tell us how AFFIRM has changed their lives and shaped their careers
  • Anne Stevenson and Jessica Magidson wrap up the #studyGMH series by introducing a new post-doctorate fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital
Training, education and capacity building
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