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Dr Melanie A Abas  MRCP, MRCPsych, MPhil, MSc, MD
Senior lecturer
Honorary Consultant Psychiatrist, Centre for Anxiety Disorders and Trauma, South London and Maudsley NHS Trust

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tel0207 848 0136/0341
fax+44 (0) 20 7277 0283

Institute of Psychiatry
Box  P060
De Crespigny Park
United Kingdom, SE5 8AF

location M2.06
Main Wing
departmentsHealth Service and Population Research
International Mental Health
alsoCentre for Public Mental Health


Melanie Abas trained at the Institute of Psychiatry, the Maudsley Hospital, and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. She is a specialist in global mental health and cross-cultural psychiatry. Her focus is on research, clinical work and training that lead to improved care and recovery for people with mood and anxiety disorders.

Melanie’s current studies are in Zimbabwe and in the UK. These include two clinical trials and a medical education program in Zimbabwe and a UK Dept of Health policy study. Her current studies build on her long-standing work on characterizing depression and its risk factors in many different cultural settings in low and middle income countries and among minority groups in high-income counties. She is a steering group member for the Centre for Global Mental Health

She has worked in Zimbabwe since the 1990s, initially living and working there as a psychiatrist for two years on leave from the Maudsley Hospital. She worked for four years in the Polynesian Manakau City, directing a mental health services research team.

Melanie Abas is an honorary consultant psychiatrist at the Centre for Anxiety Disorders and Trauma, South London and Maudsley NHS Trust, treating service users with anxiety disorders and with mood disorders co-existing with anxiety.
Supervised PhD projects include: 1) HIV outcomes in people with severe mental illness in Uganda and 2) Task-shifting for depression in Zimbabwe

activities and interests

Treatment to improve depression and adherence to antiretroviral therapy in Zimbabwe

PI of this pilot clinical trial funded by the US NIMH Division of AIDS and the Fogarty Centre Brain Disorders in the Developing World Program

Grand Challenges Canada co-investigator (lead King’s investigator), Friendship Bench Integrated Innovation Clinical Trial

Supervising development of the mental health intervention for depression for this cluster RCT in primary care in Zimbabwe.

Depression in migrant groups

Cross-cultural measurement of depression, epidemiology of depression and migration

Co-PI Medical Education Partnership Initiative, funded through the US Presidents PEPFAR program and by NIMH.

On the executive committee for a 5 year program to enhance and extend mental health education and research expertise in Zimbabwe.

teaching activities

Psychiatric epidemiology

MSc in Global Mental Health, MSc in Mental Health Services, Cross-cultural measurement; Interventions for Depression; Grant Proposals in Psych Epidemiology

PhD supervisor

Natasha Croome. Development of a Beliefs About Medicines Questionnaire for people taking antiretrovirals in Sub-Saharan Africa

Module Leader, MSc Global Mental Health

Theory to Practice in Global Mental Health

Mental Health Service and Population Research » Masters (MSc)
Psychiatric Research » Masters (MSc)
Measurement in Mental Health » Summer School
Global Mental Health » Summer School



M Abas, K Tangchonlatip, et al. Migration of children and impact on depression in older parents in rural Thailand, JAMA PSYCHIATRY, 2013,70(2),226-233. JIF 12.01.

D Chibanda, L Benjamin, H Weiss, M Abas. Mental, neurological and substance use disorders in people living with HIV/AIDS in low and middle-income countries. JOURNAL OF AIDS, 2014 (in press). JIF 4.65.

M Abas, S Nhiwatia, et al, Building mental health workforce capacity through training and retention of psychiatrists in Zimbabwe. International Review of Psychiatry 2014 (in press).

Abas M, Ostrovschi NV, Prince M, et al. Risk factors for mental disorders in women survivors of human trafficking. BMC PSYCHIATRY, 2013,13,204. JIF 2.8.

Chibanda D, Mesu P, Kajawu L, Cowan F, Araya R, Abas M. Problem-solving therapy for depression and common mental disorders in Zimbabwe. BMC PUBLIC HEALTH, 2012. JIF 2.8.

DSMV 2014. I was responsible, with Prof Vikram Patel, for a new depression syndrome being included in DSMV: Kufungisisa (“thinking too much” in Shona) which is a cultural expression of depression in Zimbabwe.

Abas, M.A. & Broadhead J.C. (1997) Depression and anxiety among women in an urban setting in Zimbabwe. Psychological Medicine, 27, 59-71.

Abas M., Phillips C. Carter J., et al. (1998) Culturally sensitive validation of screening questionnaires for depression in older African-Caribbean people living in south London. British Journal of Psychiatry, 173, 249-254.

Broadhead J, Abas M, G Khumalo-Sakutukwa, M Chigwanda, E Garura (2001). Social support, life events and the onset of depression among low-income urban women in Zimbabwe. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 36 (3), 115-122

V Patel, M Abas, J Broadhead, C Todd and A Reeler (2001) Depression in Developing Countries. British Medical Journal, 322 (7248), 482-484

M Abas, M Prince and M Hotopf (2002) Depression and mortality in an at risk population: 11-year follow-up of the MRC Elderly Hypertension study. British Journal of Psychiatry, 181, 123-128.

M Abas, O. L. Mbengeranwa, I. V. S. Chagwedera, P. Maramba, and J. C. Broadhead. (2003) Primary care services for depression in Zimbabwe. Harvard Review of Psychiatry, 11, 157-165

M A. Abas, J Vanderpyl E Robinson T Le Prou P Crampton. 2006, Socio-economic deprivation lengthens hospital stay in severe mental disorder. British Journal of Psychiatry, 188, 581-582

M A. Abas, J Vanderpyl E Robinson 2008, Socioeconomic Deprivation and Extended Hospitalization in Severe Mental Disorder: A Two-Year Follow-Up Study Psychiatric Services 59:322-325

M A. Abas, S Punpuing, T Jirapramupitak K Tangchonlatip M Leese 2009, Psychological wellbeing, physical impairments and rural ageing in a developing country setting. Health and Quality of Life Outcomes 7(1): 66.

M A. Abas, S Punpuing, T Jirapramupitak P Guest, K Tangchonlatip, M Leese, M Prince 2009, Rural-urban migration and depression in ageing family members left behind. British Journal of Psychiatry 195: 54-60.

T Jirapramukpitak, N Darawuttimaprakorn, K Tangchonlatip, S Punpuing, M Abas. Validation and factor structure of the Thai version of the EURO-D scale for depression among older psychiatric patients. Aging and Mental Health, 2009 Nov;13(6):899-904.

Suttajit S, Punpuing S, Jiramukpitak T, Tangchonlatip K, Darawuttimaprakorn N, Stewart R, Dewey ME, Prince M, Abas MA. Impairment, disability, social support and depression among older parents in rural Thailand. Psychological Medicine 2010, Oct;40(10):1711-21

M Hossain, C Zimmerman, M Abas, M Light and C Watts, The relationship of trauma to mental disorders among trafficked and sexually exploited women: findings for the emerging field of post-trafficking mental health care. American Journal of Public Health, Dec 1 2010, 100 (12), 2442-2449

Nicolae V Ostrovschi, Martin J Prince, Cathy Zimmerman, Mihai A Hotineanu, Lilia T Gorceag, Viorel I Gorceag, Clare Flach and Melanie A Abas. (2011) Women in post-trafficking services in Moldova: Diagnostic interviews to assess common mental disorders over two time periods among returning women. BMC Public Health, epub 11(232).

Vesile Senturk, Melanie Abas, Oguz Berksun and Robert Stewart. Social support and antenatal depression in extended and nuclear family environments in Turkey: a cross-sectional survey. BMC Psychiatry, 2011, in press

last updated: Monday, June 30, 2014