Boundaries of public health: towards public mental health ethics

Award Number
Award Type
Doctoral Studentships
Status / Stage
1 October 2018 -
1 July 2022
Duration (calculated)
03 years 09 months
Wellcome Trust
Funding Amount
Funder/Grant study page
Wellcome Trust
Contracted Centre
University of Oxford
Principal Investigator
Mr Lovro Savic
PI Contact
WHO Catergories
Legislative and regulatory environments
Tools and methodologies for interventions
Disease Type
Dementia (Unspecified)

CPEC Review Info
Reference ID329
ResearcherReside Team


Award Number212764/Z/18/Z
Status / StageCompleted
Start Date20181001
End Date20220701
Duration (calculated) 03 years 09 months
Funder/Grant study pageWellcome Trust
Contracted CentreUniversity of Oxford
Funding Amount£98,559.00


Public mental health measures intend to protect and promote mental health and well-being, whilst simultaneously reducing the economic and societal burdens associated with mental illness, substance abuse, and behavioural disorders, at the individual, community, and population level. The need for public mental health strategies is increasingly recognised by health policy institutions and by practitioners. However, regardless of their potential benefit, such measures are associated with pressing ethical concerns relating to medicalization, stigmatization, and intrusions on liberty and personal life-style choices. Given these concerns, this project adopts methods of conceptual and normative analysis to explore whether, and to what extent, the moral acceptability of public mental health measures can be evaluated by means of dominant approaches within public health ethics. More specifically, this project seeks to examine whether the current liberal framework of public health ethics can be reconciled with certain distinctive normative and conceptual intricacies pertaining to public mental health measures, such as uncertainty about the concept of “mental health” itself, and specific types of harm associated with the management of mental distress. Finally, this project will explicate these distinctive features and investigate the prospects of a liberal utilitarian framework as a suitable account of public mental health ethics.