The CPMH embraces the following values and principles:
- Public Health: The CPMH draws strongly from the tradition of public health. To this extent our emphasis is on developing contextually relevant and culturally appropriate intellectual knowledge aimed at the prevention of mental illness and the promotion of mental health in communities in Africa.
- Inter-disciplinarity: The multi-disciplinary dimension of the public health tradition is harnessed. As such, the fields of community psychology, psychiatry, sociology, social work, epidemiology, biostatistics, nursing, anthropology, disability studies, health- systems research and health promotion feature prominently in the range of disciplines encompassed by the CPMH.
- Multiple methods: Quantitative disciplines such as epidemiology and statistics are employed alongside qualitative social science approaches to enhance understanding of health behaviours in their social and economic contexts.
- Evidence-based decision-making: The CPMH places strong emphasis on the use of evidence for decision-making in mental health at national, regional, district and community levels. To this end, an emphasis is placed on policy-relevant research, and the dissemination of research findings to improve policy development and implementation, that promotes the mental health of communities in Africa.
- Contextually appropriate theories: The programmes place a strong emphasis on the development of theories that are contextually appropriate and culturally relevant to the African countries in which research is conducted and from which students are drawn.
- Leadership and public management: Training in skilled service management is a focus, including technical competencies for planning, inter-sectoral collaboration, financial management, information systems, quality improvement and human resource management.
- Participatory approach: Mental health interventions and services should be based on the best available global and local evidence, as well as the inclusion and participation of communities and those with mental health disabilities.
- Dialogue and partnership: Collaboration and learning between academics, policy makers, government officials, practitioners and service users to improve mental health in the developing world is essential. This should promote South-South partnership and support, in collaboration with global role-players and funders