Brain drain: a challenge to global mental health

BJPsych Int. 2016 Aug 1;13(3):61-63. doi: 10.1192/s2056474000001240. eCollection 2016 Aug.


The brain drain of medical professionals from lower-income to higher-income countries contributes to the current inequity that characterises access to mental healthcare by those in need across the world and hinders efforts to scale up mental health services in resource-constrained settings, especially in Nigeria and other West African countries. The migration of skilled workers is driven by a combination of the globalisation of the labour market and the ability of highly resourced countries to attract and retain specialists from poorer countries. If we are to ameliorate the worldwide shortage of mental health professionals, we need to find innovative ways of attracting young doctors into psychiatric training in all countries. We must also introduce measures to improve health worker retention in low- and middle-income countries.