Capacity building in global mental health research

Harv Rev Psychiatry. 2012 Jan-Feb;20(1):13-24. doi: 10.3109/10673229.2012.649117.


Research-generated information about mental disorders is crucial in order to establish the health needs in a given setting, to propose culturally apt and cost-effective individual and collective interventions, to investigate their implementation, and to explore the obstacles that prevent recommended strategies from being implemented. Yet the capacity to undertake such research in low- and middle-income countries is extremely limited. This article describes two methods that have proved successful in strengthening, or that have the potential to strengthen, mental health research capacity in low-resource settings. We identify the central challenges to be faced, review current programs offering training and mentorship, and summarize the key lessons learned. A structured approach is proposed for the career development of research staff at every career stage, to be accompanied by performance monitoring and support. A case example from the Mental Health and Poverty Project in sub-Saharan Africa illustrates how this approach can be put into practice-in particular, by focusing upon training in core transferrable research skills.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Africa South of the Sahara
  • Capacity Building* / methods
  • Capacity Building* / organization & administration
  • Global Health
  • Health Services Research* / methods
  • Health Services Research* / organization & administration
  • Humans
  • International Cooperation*
  • Mental Health Services* / organization & administration
  • Mentors
  • Program Development / methods
  • Program Evaluation / methods