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This month's issue of BJPsych International focuses on the Middle East, with papers on psychiatric care in conflict zones, the persistence of institutionalisation in Arab countries, service delivery in Iraq, improved media attitudes towards mental illness in Qatar and integration of mental health services into primary care in that country.
We asked the programme managers for mental health at the World Health Organization's Regional Offices for Europe, the Eastern Mediterranean and South-East Asia to provide an account of developments in the provision of mental health services within their regions.
We are very fortunate that these busy and influential individuals were able to set aside the time to prepare articles that shed a fascinating light on strategic thinking within the World Health Organization.
For the past decade, overt unrest and danger have typified daily life for many families in Iraq and Afghanistan, while in Egypt under the former regime a superficial appearance of political stability lay over a sense of deep discontentment. What impact does living in those circumstances have on mental health? We asked psychiatrists with personal knowledge of events in three countries that have recently been riven by war and revolution to discuss their experiences. Because so few objective data are available on the impact of stress in any of the three regions reviewed, the authors have inevitably relied in large part upon anecdote and upon news reports from the internet.
There has been considerable publicity recently in the UK concerning the threatened contraction of the country's pharmaceutical industry. The UK currently has the third highest share of global pharmaceutical research and development expenditure (after the USA and Japan), but the costs of conducting research in the UK are rising.