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This Week in PLOS Medicine: The Paradox of Mental Health, Big Tobacco, Psychotherapy, Domestic Violence & Postpartum Depression, & More

This week PLOS Medicine focuses on mental health and tobacco policy with new articles:

Image Credit: Flickr Simon Powell
Image Credit: Flickr Simon Powell

The PLOS Medicine editors discuss the paradox of mental health, where over-diagnosis and treatment of some mental health issues exists alongside profound under-recognition of mental health conditions in the developing world.

In the last article of a five-part series providing a global perspective on integrating mental health, Vikram Patel and colleagues conclude the series by outlining a rationale for integration of mental health care into other health care platforms: improving access to mental health care; providing patient-centered care; avoiding fragmentation of health services; reducing stigma; optimizing both mental health and physical health outcomes; and overall health system strengthening.

Stanton Glantz and colleagues investigate efforts by tobacco companies to influence Clearing the Smoke, a 2001 Institute of Medicine report on harm reduction tobacco products that set the tone for regulation of tobacco in the US. The authors conclude that regulatory bodies, such as the US FDA, should be aware that they are dealing with companies with a long history of intentionally misleading the public and should actively protect their public-health policies on smoking from the commercial interests of the tobacco industry. In an accompanying Perspective, Thomas Novotny reflects on the implications of these findings for engaging the tobacco industry on future tobacco product regulation.

Treatments for depression that don’t involve antidepressant drugs but rather focus on different forms of talking therapy (referred to as psychotherapeutic interventions) are all beneficial and comparable, according to a novel network meta-analysis by Jürgen Barth and colleagues. These findings are important as they suggest that patients with depression should discuss different forms of non-drug therapy with their doctors and explore which type of psychotherapy best suits them.

Women who have mental health disorders around the time of birth are more likely to have previously experienced domestic violence, according to a systematic review and meta-analysis by Louise Howard and colleagues.  The authors find that high levels of symptoms of perinatal depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder are linked to having experienced domestic violence either during pregnancy, the past year, or over a woman’s lifetime.

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