Affiliation: Cooper University Hospital, Education and Research Building, Suite 356, Camden, NJ 08103.
Objectives: The recent essay by Ethan Watters (2010) in the New York Times on the Americanization of mental illness with greater globalization raises many important assertions and concerns about the dissemination of Western models of mental illness throughout the world. At the same time, a there has been parallel trend towards the adoption of Western models of family structure and child rearing. Methods: The authors review these parallel trends and reference some studies that support their inter-connection and their potential adverse consequences on the psychosocial risk factors faced by youth. They also briefly review cases that illustrate these risks. At the same time, it also presents the counterpoint that globalization may have positive aspects in crossnational collaboration and learning in addressing the mental health of youth and families. They briefly review the content of this Special Issue as examples of the benefits from such learning and cross-pollination, tempered with the necessary adaptation of such lessons to differing cultural contexts and needs. Conclusion: Increased understanding of these trends as well as inter-national and cross-cultural collaboration will allow us to more effectively serve American youth and families as well as youth and families in diverse cultures and nations.