Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




This qualitative study aimed to provide best practice recommendations for psychologists who work within the field of global mental health. Global mental health seeks to improve mental health treatment equity on a worldwide scale, through mechanisms such as task shifting, advocacy on a governmental/community/systems level, and through capacity building. Global mental health is a growing field, and there have been calls for increased engagement in these efforts from the psychological community. Nevertheless, few recommendations are in place regarding how to practically move towards these goals in an ethical, culturally-relevant manner, though other related disciplines, such as psychiatry and public health, offer some suggestions. Using a grounded theory approach, the researcher recruited and interviewed psychologists who were identified as leaders in this field based upon their history of research, practice, and related scholarship. Utilizing a semi-structured interview, data was collected, analyzed, and coded to reveal theory and recommendations for this burgeoning field. Findings included themes related to overarching themes (consideration of cultural/contextual variables; collaboration), program level characteristics (sustainability; evaluation and research methods; flexibility; attention to systems; multidisciplinary teams; clinical knowledge and perspective; attention to spectrum of mental health), and individual level characteristics (perseverance; ongoing mentorship/supervision; self-awareness; boundary setting). Conclusions from this study related to the importance of attention to cultural and contextual competence as critical components of interventions; incorporation of existing methods of coping, strengthening of mental wellbeing as well as mental illness, and attending to systems issues into programming efforts; and attention to drivers of mental health and mental illness in project conceptualization and design. Future directions included recommendations to recreate this study with a more geographically diverse sample, as well as with community members and service users of global mental heath projects. Additionally, increased attention to individual level competencies that impact global mental health projects is also warranted.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.