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Mental Health: Pasts, Current Trends and Futures

Securing better mental health for everyone around the world is one of the greatest current challenges in global public health. This is a challenge that requires multi-faceted solutions, cooperation between many stakeholders, and a fulsome understanding of the political, social, economic and cultural determinants of health.

Mental Health Front Cover

Mental Health: Pasts, Current Trends and Futures (published by Orient BlackSwan) offers a number of remarkable illustrated case studies from different areas of the world and across periods in time. Each one sheds light on some of the many motivations and innovations in the field of mental health, and analyses the range of barriers and opportunities that continue to impact this complex area of work.

The book is trilingual with English, Portuguese and Hindi translations side by side.  The text for each chapter is complemented by specially chosen photographs, prints and other visual records, drawn from a variety of libraries and repositories including Wellcome Images and the WHO Picture Library.

The book is available free to download from the University of York’s Digital Library.




1) Andrew Scull – Asylums and care in the community: The dilemmas of mental health policy

2) Samantha Peel – A short visual history of the use of electricity in mental health

3) Jerome Wright – Building capacity and increasing access to community mental health care

4) Carlos Estellita-Lins – Mental health, indigenous suicide and shaminism in Brazil

5) Stephanie Charles & Poppy Nash – The role of schools in promoting the mental wellbeing of young people in the UK

6) Soumitra Pathare, Jasmine Kalha, Titus Joseph, Michelle Funk, Natalie Drew-Bold and Akwatu Khenti – QualityRights Gujarat

7) Patricio V. Marquez and Timothy G. Evans – Global burden of mental disorders: Is there a way forward?

8) Shekhar Saxena, Global mental health and the World Health Organization

The book features contributions from many world-leading experts and organisations in the field of mental health, including the WHO and the World Bank, and is jointly produced by the Centre for Global Health Histories (which is owned by York's Department of History) and the Centre for Chronic Diseases and Disorders. Our thanks go to all the authors, translators and editors and to the Wellcome Trust and the University of York for their generous funding of this work.

This is the latest in a line of similarly-styled publications, (see also Leprosy: A Short History, Health for All: The Journey to Universal Health Coverage, Tropical Diseases: Lessons from History, and Tuberculosis: A Short History).