Reimagining global mental health care with a person-centered, digitally-enabled approach with Dr. Vikram Patel co-founder of Sangath and successor to Paul Farmer at Harvard Medical School

Episode 41  |  49 minutes

“There is no health without mental health.” - Dr. Vikram Patel

Dr. Vikram Patel is a psychiatrist, professor, renowned researcher, co-founder of Sangath, in India, and the incoming chair of Harvard Medical School Department of Global Health and Social Medicine where he takes over for the late Dr. Paul Farmer. Through decades of field-defining research, Dr Patel has shown how community-based resources can meet a growing burden of mental illness globally. In this episode, we explore Dr. Patel’s journey from training as a psychiatrist in London to working in Zimbabwe and co-founding Sangath - an award-winning Indian NGO, committed to improving mental health care across the globe. This episode is a must-listen for those wanting to learn about strategies for scaling mental health care that extend beyond the traditional healthcare system and understanding how technology can help to improve the quality of psychological and social interventions.

Topics include: 

  • The importance of supporting Community Health Workers and Frontline Workers to treat mental illness and address the crisis of human resources in healthcare and mental health
  • The integral difference between mental health and mental illness 
  • The critical need for integration of mental health support into universal health coverage
  • The connection and influence of mental health on other chronic diseases 
  • The role of the ‘accompaniment model’ in mental health care
  • Understanding how non-specialist providers can deliver the ‘active ingredient’ in mental health intervention for two thirds of mental illness
  • The failings, future and possible fixes for the Diagnostic and Statistics Manual (DSM) in psychiatry  
  • Introducing a stepped care approach in addressing individual’s mental health needs 
  • The importance of human connection in mental health treatment
  • The need to shift from a diagnostic model to a person-centered approach 
  • Exploring measurement based peer supervision in mental health treatment programs 
  • The top 3 ways to leverage digital to augment humans in mental health care, not replace them

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