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From ‘Invisible Problem’ to Global Priority: The Inclusion of Mental Health in the Sustainable Development Goals

Mills, C. (2018). From ‘Invisible Problem’ to Global Priority: The Inclusion of Mental Health in the Sustainable Development Goals. Development and Change, 49(3), pp. 843-866. doi: 10.1111/dech.12397

Abstract

Perceptions regarding the importance of mental health are shifting at a global level. Once described as an ‘invisible problem’ in international development, mental health is now being framed as one of the most pressing development issues of our time. Concern over the historical absence of mental health from the development agenda — despite its being regarded as a major obstacle to development — has led to its recent inclusion in the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This article critically examines three intersecting axes key to its inclusion in the SDGs: 1) the conceptualization and calculation of the contribution of mental disorder to the global burden of disease; 2) the quantification of mental disorder as an economic burden; and 3) the relationship between mental distress and poverty. The article highlights the urgent need to foster a more nuanced understanding of the interplay between mental health and development, and shows how, at times, interventions in the two fields work together in producing reductionist, economistic, individualized and psychologized responses to poverty.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Mills, C. (2018). From ‘Invisible Problem’ to Global Priority: The Inclusion of Mental Health in the Sustainable Development Goals. Development and Change, 49(3), pp. 843-866., which has been published in final form at https://doi.org/10.1111/dech.12397. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Departments: School of Health Sciences > Healthcare Services Research & Management
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/21492
[img] Text - Accepted Version
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