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About Global MINDS @ Western

Mental health and substance use disorders are the leading causes of disability worldwide, and their burden is increasing. There is a large gap between needing and getting treatment, especially in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) and among marginalized groups in higher income settings. Up to 85 per cent of people with mental illness in LMICs who need treatment do not get it, in part because current approaches to prevent, identify and treat mental disorders are inadequate and out dated.  The lack of integration between health and other sectors further compounds the problem. The impacts of, and ultimately pathways to, recovery from mental illness also cut across sectors, and include education, employment/income support, labour and business, legal/justice responses, and human rights.


A new paradigm of thought and training is urgently needed to shift the growing burden of mental ill-health and substance use disorders.


Global Mental Health INcubator for Disruptive Solutions (Global MINDS) pioneers mindful social innovation practices to catalyze the development, implementation, mobilization and evaluation of disruptive solutions for the wicked problem of reducing the global burden of mental and substance use disorders and related issues. Global MINDS is focused on innovating with and for low resource settings in low- /middle-income countries and with and for local communities facing marginalization, including mental health inequities.

Through transdisciplinary collaboration, inspired community partnerships, and innovative pedagogy, we support building a network of system leaders capable of making a lasting impact starting now.


our history

Global MINDS was first established in 2016 through the support of Western University’s Interdisciplinary Development Initiative Program, which provides seed funding for initiatives that further Western’s research and teaching mission, attract scholars and graduate students to the University, involve the participation and collaboration of individuals across disciplinary boundaries, and bring prestige to Western.

The host faculty of the IDI is the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry (Schulich), and participating faculties include Health Sciences, Education, Information and Media Studies, Richard Ivey School of Business, Brescia University College, Social Sciences, School of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Studies. In addition to these Western partners, the Africa Mental Health Research and Training Foundation (AMHRTF; formerly known as the Africa Mental Health Foundation) – the leading non-governmental organization dedicated to research and policy development on mental health and substance use disorders in Africa - is the international partner of Global MINDS.

Led by Dr. Arlene MacDougall, this IDI was inspired by Community REcovery Achieved Through Entrepreneurism (CREATE) Kenya, a transdisciplinary, multi-institutional project in Kenya that was seeded by funding from Grand Challenges Canada (Government of Canada). CREATE Kenya is an innovative paradigm of recovery from serious mental illness in low income settings involving the integration of social entrepreneurship and psychosocial rehabilitation best practices.