Scaling up psychological treatments: Lessons learned from global mental health

Am Psychol. 2021 Dec;76(9):1457-1467. doi: 10.1037/amp0000944.


Evidence-based psychological treatments are among the most effective interventions in medicine and are recommended as the first line of treatment to address the significant burden of depression, anxiety, and stress-related disorders worldwide. Despite this evidence, these treatments remain inaccessible for the great majority of the world's population. Global Mental Health (GMH) is an evolving discipline of research and practice that places a priority on improving mental health and achieving equity in mental health for all people worldwide. Equity is a driving principle, and this recognizes that inequalities exist within all nations and between nations. At the heart of this equity, there is the need for person-centered care. This essay discusses how GMH has sought to address a range of barriers to scale up the delivery of psychological treatments for common mental disorders. While the initial focus of the field has been to address access to quality care in low- and middle-income countries, this article also draws attention to how similar strategies are being implemented at scale in some high-income countries, with appropriate modifications to suit the context. In considering some of these evidence-based, contextually driven strategies, psychological communities have potential to address the growing burden of depression and anxiety worldwide. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved).

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety / therapy
  • Anxiety Disorders* / therapy
  • Global Health
  • Humans
  • Mental Health*