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Professor Melanie Amna Abas

Professor Melanie Amna Abas

  • Academics
  • Supervisors

Professor of Global Mental Health

Research subject areas

  • Psychiatry

Contact details


Melanie is a psychiatric epidemiologist and Professor of Global Mental Health at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College London and Consultant Psychiatrist at the South London and Maudsley NHS trust. She is Co-Chair of the King’s College London African Regional Network.

Melanie's research expertise is development and evaluation of interventions for common mental disorders in low resource settings, especially in countries with a high burden of HIV infection. She has worked on the Friendship Bench program for common mental disorders in Zimbabwe since 2009, led by Dr Dixon Chibanda. She is Chief Investigator on an R01 clinical trial to evaluate the effectiveness of a stepped care intervention to improve depression and adherence to HIV medication in adults at risk of persistent viral non-suppression. Research partners include NGOs implementing large scale programs for vulnerable groups, including OPHID and NEEM, Ministries of Health, musicians and film-makers as well as biomedical and social scientists in the UK, in Africn countries and in the US.

Melanie's work has been further characterised by capacity building, having worked on two large African-led capacity building programs since 2010, as a co-PI for the Medical Education Partnership Initiative led by Prof James Hakim, and as KCL lead for The African Mental Health Research Initiative (AMARI), led by Dr Dixon Chibanda. She was also a founding member of the KCL/LSHTM Masters in Global Mental Health.

Melanie completed her medical training at the University of Birmingham before receiving her MSc in Epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and her doctorate from the University of Auckland. She is a member of the UK Royal College of Physicians and the UK Royal College of Psychiatrists.

Research interests

  • Interventions for depression and anxiety
  • Global health
  • Global mental health
  • Research capacity-building
  • Development and validation of psychometric tools
  • Depression and HIV
  • Clinical trials


Global Mental Health; cross cultural measurement, psychiatric epidemiology, development and adaptation of interventions for depression and anxiety. aspects of depression in low and middle income countries; grant writing, scaling up mental health services, ethics of research in low resource settings.

Expertise and public engagement

Melanie is a panel member for the International Editorial Board of the British Journal of Psychiatry, the Wellcome Bloomsbury Tropical Health Policy Group, the UK Medical Research Council Global Health Grants Panels, the Wellcome Trust/MRC/DFiD Joint Global Health Trials committee and an expert advisor to the UK MRC Applied Global Health Board.

Melanie has published articles in Newsweek and in the Association of Commonwealth Universities review; her work has featured in the Guardian and Washington Post and on NPR radio and CNN news.