Mental health in low income countries has received little attention in development assistance and research over the years. Mental illness affects all levels of society (individual, family, neighborhood, and national levels) and must, especially in poor countries, be addressed in order to reduce poverty, and to improve equity and human rights.

ASF Visiting Lecturer Lena Andersson, University of Gothenburg, will present an ongoing research project in South Africa as the basis of her talk on bettering health care for people with mental illnesses in poor countries through the promotion of the right to health and better understanding of help-seeking behaviors.

About Lena Andersson

Lena Andersson (b. 1965) has a Ph.D. in Social Medicine (2006) and an M. Structural Social Work (2001) from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

She is working at the unit of Social Medicine at the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg and is lecturing on various subjects in public health, social medicine, and global health. Andersson is also working with international mobility of students and teachers and collaborates with several non-governmental organizations in low and middle income countries concerning internship. She has also been lecturing abroad at universities in South Africa, Pakistan, and Vietnam and collaborates with colleagues at the School of Public Health at the University of Albany.

Her thesis concerned geographical differences in disability pension and sickness absence due to psychiatric disorders. Her current research concerns mental health, suicide, help seeking behavior, barriers to care, the right to health, global health, and social inequalities in health.

Andersson is the principal investigator for a research project on mental illness and barriers to care in South Africa (financed by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency) and a co-worker in projects concerning traumatic experiences and mental health in Rwanda, improving birth weight in Sri Lanka, and health system development in Sub-Sahara, Africa.

Andersson is a member of the board for the Swedish Association of Social Medicine, Vice President in the Public Mental Health section in the European Public Health Association (EUPHA), and member of the research group Global Health at the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg.”

About Mari Archer Sæther

Mari Sæther is environment counselor at the Norwegian Embassy in Washington D.C. Mrs. Sæther has worked in the environment field for more than 20 years; in the Norwegian Ministry of the Environment, the European Commission in Brussels and in postings for the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

She has also worked on international trade issues for the Norwegian Ministry of Agriculture. She has a M.Sc. from the Norwegian University of Life Sciences.

About Thorleif Thorleifsson



Photo by the American-Scandinavian Foundation

TUE – 10-2-2012 – 6:30 PM