Psychological Medicine


The future of psychiatry in low- and middle-income countries

V. Patela1 c1

a1 London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK

The great shortage, and inequitable distribution, of psychiatrists in low- and middle-income countries is one of the key reasons for the large treatment gap for people with mental disorders. Psychiatrists need to play a public mental health leadership role in increasing the coverage of mental health care through task shifting of effective interventions to non-specialist health workers. Psychiatrists' new roles should include designing and managing such programmes, building clinical capacity, supervision and quality assurance, providing referral pathways and research.

(Received November 19 2008)

(Revised December 29 2008)

(Accepted January 05 2009)

(Online publication February 12 2009)


c1 Address for correspondence: Professor V. Patel, Sangath Centre, Porvorim, Goa, India 403521. (Email: