St George’s, University of London
Mental health disorders, such as depression, anxiety and substance use, affect millions of people – estimated to be at least 10% of the world’s population – negatively impacting their quality of life or leading to premature death. Although mental health is increasingly recognised as a global concern, it remains a neglected, long time overlooked aspect of healthcare in many societies – often not even acknowledged as a ‘health’ problem or viewed as taboo. Developing appropriate mental health services requires greater awareness of the attitudes to these disorders within individual communities, as well as the social and economic factors that cause them.
In many societies around the globe, experiences related to the mind are not always conceptualised as a health issue – at the extreme, orthodox healthcare practitioners and policymakers have found themselves confronted with phenomena such as spirit possession, accusations of child witchcraft, curses and forced exorcisms.
This specialist pathway explores some of the ethical questions raised when balancing human rights and the need to address treatment gaps in global mental health experiences with an appreciation of diverse cultural and traditional understandings of mental illness, often historically linked to societies’ identity, customs and symbols.
Global health is a fascinating, broad and multidisciplinary field that is underpinned by the desire to improve people’s health worldwide, reduce inequality and protect communities from global threats, such as conflict, economic crises or preventable diseases which, as coronavirus has demonstrated, do not respect national borders.
Core compulsory and elective modules, common to each pathway, will give you the skills and knowledge necessary to understand, interpret and help solve critical global health challenges, and prepare you to conduct a high-calibre research project in your chosen specialism.
Past research projects have covered the full spectrum of the discipline – from a clinical project to examine correlation between COVID and HIV conducted here in the UK, for example, to assessment of mental health care provision in rural South Africa and an analysis of the narratives of women imprisoned in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Careers in global health are often divided into clinical and non-clinical with opportunities in both addressing issues of public or global health, or working in leadership, consultancy or research roles in either government or the private sector, as well as national and international agencies, such as WHO, Unicef or Save the Children, for example.
Career options include policy development, advocacy, health systems administration and management, education, research, community outreach, community healthcare planning, infectious disease management, programme planning and evaluation.
Depending on your interests and chosen specialism, you will also be able to target the countries, individuals, initiatives or challenges you feel most passionately about. On completion, you will also be equipped with practical research-based training and skills putting you in a good position to apply for a PhD, which some of our students choose to do.
Students must have the equivalent of a bachelor degree to intercalate a Master’s. This will usually require you to have a BSc degree or have completed the first three years of your medical programme.
Applications typically open in November and close in July. Early applications are recommended.