Guiding principles

Cochrane Global Mental Health follows some guiding principles:

  1. We take the pragmatic approach of focussing on the evidence base irrespective of the intervention type being considered, therefore including approaches that are culturally appropriate, such as traditional, complementary, and alternative medicine;
  2. We focus not only on interventions that fit with a biomedical approach, but also on interventions that fit with a public health approach. This means aggregating and disseminating the evidence on effective interventions for mental health conditions as well as on effective promotion and prevention strategies, simple or complex. As one of the main benefits of Cochrane Reviews is to highlight existing gaps in knowledge, if most evidence is for intervention rather than for promotion or prevention, we use Cochrane Reviews to flag this;
  3. People with severe mental disorders will be considered a priority, as highlighted by the WHO mhGAP, which considered psychosis, including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, a priority condition.

This means aggregating and disseminating the evidence on effective individual- level interventions as well as on system-level interventions, including hospital versus community care, which are key determinants of outcome in this group. Effective actions to reduce stigma, discrimination, and to value the human rights of people with severe mental disorders and disabilities will also be carefully considered.

Summary of our guiding principles:

  • Collaboration between mental health workers (however defined) in different parts of the world;
  • Collaboration with stakeholders;
  • Collaboration with persons with mental health problems, families and carers;
  • Pragmatic attitude: focus on the evidence base, including approaches that are culturally appropriate (e.g. traditional, complementary and alternative medicine);
  • Integrated care: supporting interventions aimed at improving the physical health of people with mental health problems and the mental health of people with long-term physical illness;
  • Context matters: adaptation to local values, preferences, cultural traditions, modes of help-seeking, feasibility issues, etc.;
  • Critical thinking on the evidence base: quality assessment and risk of bias, clinical relevance (confidence in estimates), transfer of evidence generated in Western countries to non-Western settings;
  • Public mental health approach: focus on promotion and preventive actions to reduce the risk of mental disorders.