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Director's Lecture

Reimagining Mental Health in the Shadow of the Pandemic


Event Summary

Even before the COVID-19 crisis hit, the world was confronting a major mental health crisis, measured by skyrocketing rates of depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, and actual suicides among people 10-25 years old. At this talk, Harvard-based global health expert Dr. Vikram Patel explored the ways the pandemic is complicating efforts to address mental health among youth and adolescents around the world. Deborah Gorman-Smith, dean of the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration, offered a response.

Related Media

Teens in Covid Isolation: ‘I Felt Like I Was Suffocating’” (The New York Times, November 12, 2020)


Vikram Patel


Vikram Patel is the Pershing Square Professor of Global Health in the Blavatnik Institute's Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He is an adjunct professor and joint director of the Centre for Chronic Conditions and Injuries at the Public Health Foundation of India, honorary professor at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (where he co-founded the Centre for Global Mental Health in 2008), and is a co-founder of Sangath, an Indian NGO which won the MacArthur Foundation’s International Prize for Creative and Effective Institutions in 2008 and the WHO Public Health Champion of India award in 2016.

Deborah Gorman-Smith

Deborah Gorman-Smith is the Dean and Emily Klein Gidwitz Professor of the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago. She is also the Principal Investigator and Director of the Chicago Center for Youth Violence Prevention, one of six national Academic Centers of Excellence for Youth Violence Prevention funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Her program of research, grounded in a public health perspective, is focused on advancing knowledge about development, risk, and prevention of aggression and violence, with specific focus on minority youth living in high burden urban communities.