Goa based psychiatrist Dr Vikram Patel who is also a Professor of International Mental Health at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, has made it to the TIME magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world.
“Naturally I feel happy and privileged,” Patel told The Indian Express when contacted. Patel has been among the authors of the series published in The Lancet that had made a strong case for India to set up an integrated national health system by 2020. Patel was also among the principal investigators of a trial conducted at Goa and widely published in international journals about the effective manner in which lay persons were involved in taking care of patients with depression and anxiety disorders.
A co-founder of Sangath, a mental health research NGO based in Goa, Patel’s research focuses on how to bring better mental health care to low-resource communities, where around 90% of people affected by mental illness go untreated because psychiatrists are in such short supply.
“Our studies have looked at the burden of mental disorders and suicide in young people; the association of poverty and gender based violence with depression and suicide; adolescent health, HIV/AIDS and maternal and child health,” Patel said. He also carries out research on chronic diseases which seeks to integrate mental health care with that for other chronic diseases, and on using mhealth innovations in improving access to and quality of care.
TIME editor Nancy Gibbs in a statement issued here said that their list – now in its twelfth year, recognizes the activism, innovation and achievement of the world’s most influential individuals. The TIME 100 is a list of the world’s most influential men and women, not its most powerful, though those are not mutually exclusive terms… While power is certain, influence is subtle…. As much as this exercise chronicles the achievements of the past year, we also focus on figures whose influence is likely to grow, so we can look around the corner to see what is coming.”
Prof Patel was the founding and Joint Director of the Centre for Global Mental Health, a partnership between the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Kings Health Partners. The TIME 100 list describes Prof Patel as a ‘well-being warrior’ and includes a tribute from Dr Barbara Van Dahlen, a psychologist and the founder of Give an Hour, a network of volunteer mental-health professionals, as well as the Campaign to Change Direction.