In 2000, the category of neuropsychiatric conditions was a larger source of burden of disease, as measured by disability-adjusted-life-years (DALYs), than any other category of disease, in the world as a whole. Even in less developed regions where infectious and parasitic diseases are prominent, mental disorders are an important source of DALYs.
The mission of the Department of Mental Health and its location in a School of Public Health makes it unique in the world. Lowering the disabilities associated with mental disorder is logical for developing countries because these disorders have early onset and are often chronic, with the potential for long-term drain on social resources.
Faculty in the department have global expertise in a wide range of mental health issues including: cross-cultural assessment of mental illness; substance abuse research and treatment; monitoring and evaluation of individual, group and family mental health services; and economic evaluations of mental health services.