Global Mental Health
Global mental health is a field within public health that is focused on how mental health is experienced and organized across the world's populations. A common misunderstanding is in equating "global" with "international". International centers the nation as the frame of reference; however, the forces that shape and inform health care (including culture, economics, and even politics) are not confined by national borders. Furthermore, many researchers, activists, and clinicians (especially from the U.S.) often think global health requires travel outside of their home countries. The field of global health is interested in how people and information flows across global communities including inside and outside the U.S. Much may be learned in the U.S. by innovative practices to delivering mental health care in under resources areas throughout the world.
Our lab is focused on global mental health with respect to Muslim communities, both within and outside of the U.S.. We are interested in the ways culture, religion, and spirituality informs how Muslims understand, express, and manage emotional distress as well as neuropsychiatric conditions. As an example, many people experience and understand epilepsy as being caused by black magic, evil eye ('ayn), and/or jinn possession. Their conceptual framework of disease will inform who they seek help from and how they manage their condition, which may not be mutually exclusive. Some Muslims may seek guidance from the Quran, traditional healers, and religious authorities as well as seek care from physicians.
Co-authorship networks map how researchers are connected to each other and provide a social context to how a literature develops. Each circle (or node) represents an individual author. Nodes are connected (by curved lines or edges) if two authors co-authored at least one paper together. Nodes and authors are colored according to the region, as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO), of their primary academic affiliation. For instance, the green clusters represent the Eastern Mediterranean (primarily the Middle East) and often publish only with authors from the same region and occasionally with authors from North America, Europe, and the Western Pacific.
Mapping global Muslim mental health research: analysis of trends in the English literature from 2000 to 2015:
The representations of Islam and Muslims in the media and academic literature may unconsciously impact how clinicians perceive and approach their Muslim patients. Our study focuses on the emerging Muslim mental health (MMH) literature using bibliometric analysis, specifically social network analysis of word co-occurrence and co-authorship networks of academic publications, to describe how the content of MMH discourse is evolving. We conducted an Ovid search (including Medline and PsycInfo databases) to identify articles written in English from 2000 to 2015 that had the terms ‘Islam’ and/or ‘Muslim’ in the abstract as well as research conducted in Muslim-majority countries and among Muslim minorities in the rest of the world. Social network analysis showed there was little collaborative work across regions. The challenges of producing MMH research are similar to the challenges faced across global mental health research.
MMH articles included in the network analysis were written by 8140 co-authors. Only 1042 corresponding authors published at least two articles on MMH and only 69 authors of those specifically wrote about Islam and/or Muslims. The majority of corresponding authors are from Turkey (n = 243), the USA (n = 115), Iran (n = 78), Malaysia (n = 60), the Netherlands (n = 57), Egypt (n = 51), the UK (n = 49), and Nigeria (n = 45). However, authors from North America and Western Europe are more prolific.