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Innovation Challenge:

Novel Ways to Tackle Diagnosis and Treatment Gaps in Global Mental Health

This Challenge is


Mental health disorders surpass both cardiovascular disease and cancer in incidence, yet more than 75 percent of individuals suffering serious mental health challenges in developing countries receive no treatment. Stigma and lack of awareness prevent people from seeking treatment, and few skilled care providers exist for those that do. Life in high-conflict, post-conflict, or impoverished settings can exacerbate mental illness, further marginalizing those in need of help.

Scientists Without Borders partnered with Johnson & Johnson to address this area of high unmet need through a $10,000 open-innovation, incentive-based Challenge to boost awareness and utilization of existing mental health services for depression and anxiety in the developing world. Ideas were required to be culturally appropriate and feasible to implement in low-resource settings.

Our independent expert panel of judges selected “MHealth for Mental Health” from Alejandra Leyton, a Bolivian Health Economist pursuing an MPH at Tulane University, and Veena Katikineni, a second year medical student at the University of Maryland Baltimore as the winning solution!

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MENTAL HEALTH GAP ACTION PROGRAMME (mhGAP), " Special Focus on the draft Global Mental Health Action Plan", World Health Organization. (WHO 2012)

Nature, Grand Challenges in Global Mental Health, (Macmillan Publishers, 2011).

MD, PhD, and Arthur Kleinman, MD Anne E. Beker, "An Agenga for Closing Resourse Gaps in Global Mental Health: Innovation, Capacity Building, and partnerships," Harvard Review Psychiatry, no. 20 (2012): 3-5.

The Grand Challenges in Mental Health

The Global Burden of Disease: 2004 Update. World Health Organization.  (WHO 2008)

Vikram Patel, "Global Mental Health: From Science to Action," Harvard Review Psychiatry (2012 President and Fellows of Harvard College), July 2011.

Vikram Patel, “Why Adolescent Depression is a Global Health Priority and What We Should Do About It" Adolescent Health 2012.

Worldwide Use of Mental Health Services for Anxiety, Mood, and Substance Disorders: Results from 17 Countries in the WHO World Mental Health (WMH) Surveys Wang et al, Lancet 2007

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