Dr Melanie Abas is a Clinical Associate Professor (Reader) in Global Mental Health at King’s College London, Honorary Consultant Psychiatrist at the South London and Maudsley NHS Trust, and Deputy Director of the Centre for Global Mental Health at King’s College London and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
Melanie trained in the UK at Birmingham University, the Maudsley Hosital, the Institute of Psychiatry, and the London School of Hygiene. She is known principally for work in two intersecting domains: 1) developing and applying interdisciplinary methods for epidemiological research on depression in cross-cultural settings, especially in Zimbabwe and also in Thailand, Moldova, Sri Lanka and among minority groups in the UK, and 2) a prominent role in defining and promoting the emerging field of global mental health. Her early research as a trainee was on the social origins of depression in women in Zimbabwe. This was the first to show a common mechanism for the development of depression cross-culturally through the experience of life events involving humiliation and loss and has been highly cited.
Her focus currently is on psychological terhapies in global health contexts for depression, anxiety and for improving non-adherence to HIV medication. Through working as a member of the Friendship Bench team in Zimbabwe, she has particular experience in improving access to culturally-adapted interventions for depression, incuding problem-solving therapy and antidepressants, that can be delivered by supervised non-specialists.
Current major collaborations include:
AMARI - building an African-led network of mental health researchers : Zimbabwe (Dr. Dixon Chibanda, University of Zimbabwe), Ethiopia (Dr Charlotte Hanlon, Addis Ababa University), South Africa (Dr. Katherine Sorsdahl, University of Cape Town), Malawi (Dr Stefan Holzer, Dr Felix Kauye, University of Malawi).
TENDAI and SAPHRA - Depression in people living with HIV/ Sustainable adherence interventions for people living with HIV: Zimbabwe (Dr Walter Mangezi, Prof Rati Nhdlovu, Dr. Dixon Chibanda, University of Zimbabwe), USA (Prof Steven Safren, Assoc Prof Conall O’Cleirgh, Harvard University).
Friendship Bench - Clinical Trial of a stepped care intervention for depression in primary care: Zimbabwe (Dr. Dixon Chibanda, University of Zimbabwe), UK (Prof. Helen Weiss; Prof. Ricardo Araya, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine).