Public policy and mental health: What we can learn from the HIV movement

David Scheerer, Zina Nimeh & Stefan Weinmann


Mental health plays a key role in human development, both as a driver and as a goal in itself. Despite this, mental health has been strikingly neglected to date. The HIV movement has revolutionised health advocacy and registered remarkable successes in the past decades. The present study draws on the experience of this exceptional movement in order to find ways forward in the field of mental health. Adopting a broad analytical perspective, it discusses the differences and similarities between the fields of HIV and mental health and, based on this analysis, provides a concrete model for action that takes into account the peculiarities of mental health as a policy issue.

Keywords: mental health, health, public policy, social mobilisation, social exclusion, poverty, HIV movement, AIDS, HIV, development, stigma, discrimination, social networks

JEL Classification: I11, I12, I14, I15, I18, I30, O10, O19, O20

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