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Globally, mental health disorders rank as the greatest cause of disability and a leading contributor to the burden of disease. While the U.S. may struggle to meet the need for quality mental healthcare, treatment in most low- and middle-income (LMIC) countries – where 80% of those with mental illness live – is extremely limited. The World Health Organization estimates that over 75% of those needing mental health treatment in LMICs receive no treatment at all. Malawi exemplifies this mental health treatment gap: the country of 20 million has only four psychiatrists and a handful of other mental health professionals.

Central Region Friendship Bench training in 2019

Researchers with UNC Project-Malawi, in partnership with the Malawi Ministry of Health, Kamuzu University of Health Sciences, and the Malawi Epidemiology and Intervention Research Unit or MEIRU, in collaboration with the Institute for Global Health and Infectious Diseases and the Gillings School of Global Public Health, are rethinking mental healthcare in Malawi to meet the scale and need.

Read more from the UNC Institute for Global Health and Infectious Diseases’s Newsroom.