Mental Health

This page features disability news on Mental Health from the Debrief Library. See also news on other subjects.


BasicNeeds Network Launch: bringing together 100+ years of mental health implementation experience. (Jan, CBM UK)

The future of mental health care might lie beyond psychiatry: “Poor countries are developing a new paradigm of mental health care.” (Nov, Vox)

Controversy erupts over non-consensual AI mental health experiment. “Koko let 4,000 people get therapeutic help from GPT-3 without telling them first.” (Jan, Ars Technica)

Anxiety and Depression Signs Among Adolescents in 26 Low- and Middle-Income Countries: “Compared to adolescents without functional difficulties, those with difficulties in one or more domains were three times more likely to have signs of depression and anxiety.” (Jan, Journal of Adolescent Health)

Mental Health Apps Are Not Keeping Your Data Safe “With little regulation and sometimes outright deception, the possibility of discrimination and other “data harms” is high” (Nov, Scientific American)

The story of depression and how we treat it a review of A Cure for Darkness, a new book which “takes a more global and socioeconomically inclusive approach to studying depression”. (Sep, Africa is a Country)

Launch of the report of the Lancet Commission On Ending Stigma and Discrimination in Mental Health. (Oct, United for Global Mental Health)

Guidelines on mental health at work: “evidence-based recommendations to promote mental health, prevent mental health conditions, and enable people living with mental health conditions to participate and thrive in work.” (Sep, WHO)

Digital Futures in Mind Reflecting on Technological Experiments in Mental Health & Crisis Support:

The “paradigm of advocating for and developing algorithmic mental health tools has in turn exacerbated harms done to those in crisis, by not recognising either the particularities of their circumstances, or the systemic stigma these systems can reinforce. In this report, the authors present an alternative framework in which every step of the design, training, implementation and regulation of algorithmic healthcare systems would be done with the direct involvement of people who know the worst things that these systems can do, because they’ve lived it.” (link to pdf)

WHO World Mental Health Report “Stigma, discrimination and human rights violations against people with mental health conditions are widespread in communities and care systems everywhere. And in all countries, it is the poorest and most
disadvantaged in society who are at greater risk of mental ill-health and who are also the least likely to receive adequate services.” (Jun, WHO)

Mental Health Apps Like BetterHelp Are a Privacy Nightmare, Mozilla Says. (May, Gizmodo)

Hope, empowerment, action: a new series dedicated to suicide prevention:

“To begin with, we need to abandon the myth that every suicide is the outcome of 'mental illness'. And we must reckon with the deep socioeconomic factors that make suicide one of the biggest public health challenges of our time.” (May, Sanity by Tanmoy)

A briefing on Financing Mental Health For All as part of universal healthcare: “the opportunity for once-in-a-generation change”. (Mar, United for Global Mental Health)

COVID-19 pandemic triggers 25% increase in prevalence of anxiety and depression worldwide (March, WHO)

Entry points for mental health and wellbeing a brief on how international cooperation can incorporate mental health. (Feb, Bond)


As Australia’s human rights record comes under scrutiny, here is a missing piece in mental health reforms. (Jan, Croakey Health Media)

People living inside our mental health system must not be left outside its reform. “For too long, people with lived experience of mental health have been excluded from policy discussions,” (Jan, Independent Australia)

More than 1,200 people are detained indefinitely with no criminal conviction. “People detained indefinitely without conviction are most commonly those who are found unfit to plead after being charged with a criminal offence, or who are found not guilty because of a mental impairment.” See more in how advocates have responded. (Aug, the Guardian)

Mental distress is much worse for people with disabilities, and many health professionals don't know how to help. “Someone may present to a disability-specific health service, and be turned away due to a co-occuring mental health difficulty. They might then present to a mental health service and be turned away due to having a disability.” (Aug, the Conversation)


For people with mental health conditions finding work remains a challenge. (Oct, Sixth Tone)


“Mental health is declining in Denmark” and the plan to tackle the inefficiencies in the mental healthcare system through the next ten years. (Oct, Unbias the News)


Mental health of people with intellectual disabilities and family members: “Mental health and intellectual disabilities diagnoses are being used to deprive people of their right to decide about their lives.” (Feb, Inclusion Europe)

Joint statement welcoming the suspension of the adoption of the draft Additional Protocol to the Oviedo Convention (Jun, EDF) See more from Human Rights Watch.


Vastaamo hacking suspect arrested in France. “French police arrested a suspect Friday who is allegedly connected to the notorious cyber attack against Finnish psychotherapy center Vastaamo in 2018.” (Feb, TechTarget)


Chaining People with Mental Health Conditions Persists Visits to prayer camps and healing centers see “people were chained or confined in small cages, in some cases for more than seven months.” (Dec, Human Rights Watch)

A policy brief on addressing mental health needs of deaf people (Nov, Ghana National Association of the Deaf)


Mental justice: Addressing the mental health of de-notified tribes. (Jan, IDR)

‘A lifeline’: mental health camps bring peace of mind to thousands in rural Assam. (Jan, the Guardian)

The Long-Run Effects of Psychotherapy on Depression, Beliefs and Economic Outcomes:

“We revisit two clinical trials that randomized depressed adults in India (n=775) to a brief course of psychotherapy or a control condition. Four to five years later, the treatment group was 11 percentage points less likely to be depressed than the control group. The more effective intervention averted 9 months of depression on average over five years and cost only $66 per recipient.” (link to pdf, May, Bhat et al)


‘Amman is a prison’: Rise in suicides highlights mental health crisis in Jordan: ‘Instead of addressing the structural problems, the government is trying to punish and repress the symptoms of the crisis.’ (Jun, The New Humanitarian)


Kenya Mental Health Investment Case 2021 Providing Evidence for the Long-Term Health, Social and Economic Benefits of Investment in Mental Health.

“Kenya has a standalone mental health policy, and efforts to review the outdated mental health act are on-going. [But] Mental health services are scarce and inaccessible, the
mental health workforce is limited, and budgetary allocation to mental health is inadequate.” (Jun, Ministry of Health)

Alienation in three parts: mental health in Kenyan women activists (Jun, ROAPE)


Tedtalk on How to alter the perception of mental health care in Russia “During the Soviet Union era, therapy was often used as a tool of political oppression. Since then, Russia has seen major reforms in mental health care -- but stigmas and distrust for the practice still live on.” (Jul, TED)

Mental Health Crisis Looms in Russia as Sanctions Fuel Drug Shortages, Job Losses (Mar, The Moscow Times)


A new plan to tackle trauma in Somalia after 30 years of ‘shared distress’ (Feb, The New Humanitarian)

South Africa

A retrospective study exploring how South African newspapers framed Schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders over an 11-year period (2004–2014). (Oct, BMC Psychiatry)

Large mental health study finds 20-30% of students at risk (Nov, Mail and Guardian)

United Kingdom

The Guardian view on mental health privatisation: unsafe spaces. “Businesses that fail patients while making profit margins of 15%-20% are no substitute for investment in the NHS” (Apr, the Guardian)

Autistic people are six times more likely to attempt suicide – poor mental health support may be to blame (Apr, The Conversation)

A critique of digital mental health via assessing the psychodigitalisation of the COVID-19 crisis (Feb, Psychotherapy and Politics International)

United States

Advocates Fear The Impact Of NYC’s Involuntary Hospitalization Plan. (Dec, Huffington Post) See also an extended take on the push to expand involuntary treatment (Mad in America).

This Teen Shared Her Troubles With a Robot. Could AI ‘Chatbots’ Solve the Youth Mental Health Crisis? “The pandemic hit and this technology basically skyrocketed. Everywhere I turn now there’s a new chatbot promising to deliver new things,” (Apr, 74 Million)

Doctors Gave Her Antipsychotics. She Decided to Live With Her Voices: “A new movement wants to shift mainstream thinking away from medication and toward greater acceptance.” (May, New York Times)