December 2013
European Federation of Psychiatric Trainees (EFPT)

Brain Drain

The concern for migration of highly skilled health professionals from developing countries is widely referred to as “brain drain”, signifying this loss of human resources as a barrier to the improvement of mental health services1.

The WPA recognizing the importance of this large scale and long-standing phenomenon, looked into the situation of psychiatrists from low and middle income countries and found that professional isolation and the search for better training opportunities were the key reasons for migrating, having accordingly stated commitment to take a leading role to address the disclosed problems2.

Within the European Union data of these migration flows is scarce, particularly in psychiatry. Thus, as an attempt to explore the extent of migration within psychiatry trainees, the European Federation of Psychiatric Trainees (EFPT) research group is doing a survey on migration to assess psychiatry trainees’ opinion and experience towards international migration, identifying reasons, barriers, patterns, time and impact of migration.

Since it is crucial to collect empirical data, this international collaborative research aims to be expanded to psychiatry trainees throughout the world, allowing further comparisons with other groups, such as physicians in general and psychiatry consultants, which will supply information about the scale of the brain drain.

Migration within psychiatry will probably continue, being therefore essential to enhance support to those who migrate, andactually influence the mental health care provided internationally3.

1-Saraceno B, van Ommeren M, Batniji R, Cohen A, Gureje O, et al. Barriers to improvement of mental health services in low-income and middle-income countries. Lancet 2007; 370: 1164-74.
2-Gureje O, Hollins S, Botbol M. et al. Report of the WPA Task Force on Brain Drain World Psychiatry 2009; 8: 115-8.
3-Pinto da Costa M. A challenge of the 21st century: brain migration in psychiatry. International Psychiatry 2012; 9 (3): 75-6.

Mariana Pinto da Costa

President Elect, European Federation of

Psychiatric Trainees (EFPT)




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