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Challenges and priorities for global mental health in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) era

ACADEMY OF MEDICAL SCIENCES
June 2018

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Published in 2011, the Grand Challenges in Global Mental Health initiative provided a framework to guide the research needed to improve treatment and prevention of mental health disorders and expand access to mental health services. At the Academy’s workshop on global mental health participants reflected on progress since 2011, focusing on specific life-course stages, and identified priorities for research in treatment and prevention, as well as enduring challenges and emerging opportunities

Where there is no psychiatrist A mental health care manual

PATEL, Vikram
HANLON, Charlotte
March 2018

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This is a practical manual about mental health care, aimed at community health workers, primary care nurses, social workers and primary care doctors, particularly in low resource settings. It describes more than 30 clinical problems associated with mental illness, using a problem-solving approach to guide the reader through their assessment and management. It addresses the lack of understanding of mental health among many health workers. Mental health issues as they arise in specific contexts are described - in refugee camps, in school health programmes, as well as in mental health promotion. The final section helps the reader to personalise for a particular location, for example, by entering local information on voluntary agencies, the names and costs of medicines and words in the local language for symptoms.

 

This product is an update of the first edition 2003. It is also available as Open Access.

Mental health assessments in refugees and asylum seekers: evaluation of a tablet-assisted screening software

MORINA, Naser
et al
October 2017

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Mental health problems resulting from persecution and forced migration are very common among refugees and asylum seekers and evolve into a major public health challenge. Language barriers often prevent timely access to appropriate health care, leading to chronic trajectories and abortive social integration. Tools for multilingual screening and assessment could be of great benefit for this particularly vulnerable population as well as for policy makers. This study aimed at testing the reliability, feasibility and usability of the Multi-Adaptive Psychological Screening Software (MAPSS), a newly developed Audio Computer-Assisted Self-Interview Software (ACASI) for touchscreen devices, for screening purposes in a clinical setting. In a randomized cross-over design including both MAPSS and paper-pencil clinician-administered interviews, 30 treatment-seeking refugees completed clinical measures and a feasibility questionnaire to rate the user interface of MAPSS. Five professionals performed given tasks in MAPSS and completed usability questionnaires for the administration interface.

Conflict and Health 2017 11:18

https://doi.org/10.1186/s13031-017-0120-2

Better understanding of youth mental health

The Lancet
April 2017

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Mental health issues are the leading cause of disability in adolescents aged 15–19 years in all the world's regions, contributing 45% of their overall burden of disease. Early intervention to prevent mental health disorders is crucial to suicide prevention and to improve lifelong wellbeing. In April 2017, Mission Australia, in association with the Black Dog Institute (a research institute based in New South Wales) published the 5th Youth Mental Health Report. A survey of 21 000 Australian adolescents recorded 22·8% of young Australians meeting the criteria for probable serious mental illness (PSMI), as assessed by the Kessler 6 measure of non-specific psychological distress. Adolescent girls were almost twice as likely than boys to meet the criteria for PSMI. A significantly higher proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander responders met the criteria for PSMI (31·6%)  than non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.


DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(17)31140-6

Vol. 389, No. 10080, p1670, 29 April 2017

 

Strengthening mental health system governance in six low- and middle-income countries in Africa and South Asia: challenges, needs and potential strategies

PETERSEN, Inge
et al
February 2017

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The aim of this study was to identify key governance issues that need to be addressed to facilitate the integration of mental health services into general health care in the six participating "Emerald" countries (Ethiopia, India, Nepal, Nigeria, South Africa, and Uganda).  The study adopted a descriptive qualitative approach, using framework analysis. Purposive sampling was used to recruit a range of key informants, to ensure views were elicited on all the governance issues within the expanded framework. Key informants across the six countries included policy makers at the national level in the Department/Ministry of Health; provincial coordinators and planners in primary health care and mental health; and district-level managers of primary and mental health care services. A total of 141 key informants were interviewed across the six countries. Data were transcribed (and where necessary, translated into English) and analysed thematically using framework analysis, first at the country level, then synthesised at a cross-country level.

Mental health and human rights : Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

OFFICE OF THE HIGH COMMISIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
January 2017

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"The present report, mandated by the Human Rights Council in resolution 32/18, identifies some of the major challenges faced by users of mental health services, persons with mental health conditions and persons with psychosocial disabilities. These include stigma and discrimination, violations of economic, social and other rights and the denial of autonomy and legal capacity.

In the report, the High Commissioner recommends a number of policy shifts, which would support the full realisation of the human rights of those populations, such as the systematic inclusion of human rights in policy and the recognition of the individual’s autonomy, agency and dignity. Such changes cover measures to improve the quality of mental health service delivery, to put an end to involuntary treatment and institutionalisation and to create a legal and policy environment that is conducive to the realisation of the human rights of persons with mental health conditions and psychosocial disabilities"

A/HRC/34/32

Human Rights Council, Thirty-fourth session, 27 February-24 March 2017

Mental health and trauma in asylum seekers landing in Sicily in 2015: a descriptive study of neglected invisible wounds

CREPET, Anna
RITA, Francesco
REID, Anthony
et al
January 2017

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Abstract

 

Background

 

In 2015, Italy was the second most common point of entry for asylum seekers into Europe after Greece. The vast majority embarked from war-torn Libya; 80,000 people claimed asylum that year. Their medical conditions were assessed on arrival but their mental health needs were not addressed in any way, despite the likelihood of serious trauma before and during migration. Médecins sans Frontières (MSF), in agreement with the Italian Ministry of Health, provided mental health (MH) assessment and care for recently-landed asylum seekers in Sicily. This study documents mental health conditions, potentially traumatic events and post-migratory living difficulties experienced by asylum seekers in the MSF programme in 2014–15.

 

Methods

 

All asylum seekers transiting the 15 MSF-supported centres were invited to a psycho-educational session. A team of psychologists and cultural mediators then provided assessment and care for those identified with MH conditions. Potentially traumatic events experienced before and during the journey, as well as post-migratory living difficulties, were recorded. All those diagnosed with MH conditions from October 2014 to December 2015 were included in the study.

 

Results

 

Among 385 individuals who presented themselves for a MH screening during the study period, 193 (50%) were identified and diagnosed with MH conditions. Most were young, West African males who had left their home-countries more than a year prior to arrival. The most common MH conditions were post traumatic stress disorder (31%) and depression (20%). Potentially traumatic events were experienced frequently in the home country (60%) and during migration (89%). Being in a combat situation or at risk of death, having witnessed violence or death and having been in detention were the main traumas. Lack of activities, worries about home, loneliness and fear of being sent home were the main difficulties at the AS centres.

 

Conclusion

 

MH conditions, potentially traumatic events and post-migratory living difficulties are commonly experienced by recently-arrived ASs, this study suggests that mental health and psychosocial support and improved living circumstances should be integrated into European medical and social services provided by authorities in order to fulfil their humanitarian responsibility and reduce the burden of assimilation on receiving countries.

 

Keywords

 

Immigration Asylum seekers Refugee Mental health Italy Europe Traumatic event Operational research

Partnerships in mental healthcare service delivery in low-resource settings: developing an innovative network in rural Nepal

BIBHAV Acharya
et al
January 2017

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Abstract

Background

Mental illnesses are the largest contributors to the global burden of non-communicable diseases. However, there is extremely limited access to high quality, culturally-sensitive, and contextually-appropriate mental healthcare services. This situation persists despite the availability of interventions with proven efficacy to improve patient outcomes. A partnerships network is necessary for successful program adaptation and implementation.

Partnerships network

We describe our partnerships network as a case example that addresses challenges in delivering mental healthcare and which can serve as a model for similar settings. Our perspectives are informed from integrating mental healthcare services within a rural public hospital in Nepal. Our approach includes training and supervising generalist health workers by off-site psychiatrists. This is made possible by complementing the strengths and weaknesses of the various groups involved: the public sector, a non-profit organization that provides general healthcare services and one that specializes in mental health, a community advisory board, academic centers in high- and low-income countries, and bicultural professionals from the diaspora community.

Conclusions

We propose a partnerships model to assist implementation of promising programs to expand access to mental healthcare in low- resource settings. We describe the success and limitations of our current partners in a mental health program in rural Nepal.

Mental health and trauma in asylum seekers landing in Sicily in 2015: a descriptive study of neglected invisible wounds

CREPET, Anna
RITA, Francesco
REID, Anthony
et al
January 2017

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While the medical conditions of newly migrated asylum seekers to Sicily were being addressed, the mental health of those who may have experienced trauma before, during, or after their migration was not addressed. "Médecins sans Frontières (MSF), in agreement with the Italian Ministry of Health, provided mental health (MH) assessment and care for recently-landed asylum seekers in Sicily. This study documents mental health conditions, potentially traumatic events and post-migratory living difficulties experienced by asylum seekers in the MSF programme in 2014–15." 

Partnerships in mental healthcare service delivery in low-resource settings: developing an innovative network in rural Nepal

ACHARYA, Bibhav
MARU, Duncan
SCHWARZ, Ryan
et al
January 2017

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"Mental illnesses are the largest contributors to the global burden of non-communicable diseases. However, there is extremely limited access to high quality, culturally-sensitive, and contextually-appropriate mental healthcare services. This situation persists despite the availability of interventions with proven efficacy to improve patient outcomes. A partnerships network is necessary for successful program adaptation and implementation."

WHO: New QualityRights guidance and training tools (pilot version)

WHO
2017

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"As part of the QualityRights Initiative, WHO has developed a comprehensive package of training and guidance modules. The modules can be used to build capacity among mental health practitioners, people with psychosocial, intellectual and cognitive disabilities, people using mental health services, families, care partners and other supporters, NGOs, DPOs and others on how to implement a human rights and recovery approach in the area of mental health in line with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and other international human rights standards".

 

The core mental health and human rights modules are:

Understanding human rights 
(WHO/MSD/MHP/17.1)
Promoting human rights in mental health 
(WHO/MSD/MHP/17.2)
Improving mental health and related service environments and promoting community inclusion 
(WHO/MSD/MHP/17.3)
Realising recovery and the right to health in mental health and related services 
(WHO/MSD/MHP/17.4)
Protecting the right to legal capacity in mental health and related services 
(WHO/MSD/MHP/17.5)
Creating mental health and related services free from coercion, violence and abuse
(WHO/MSD/MHP/17.6)

 

Further to these, there are 4 advanced modules, 2 service improvement tools and 4 guidance tools

 

Dignity in mental health : Psychology & mental health first aid for all

WORLD FEDERATION FOR MENTAL HEALTH (WFMH)
October 2016

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‘Dignity in Mental Health-Psychological & Mental Health First Aid for All’ is designed to enable us to contribute to the goal of taking mental health out of the shadows so that people in general feel more confident in tackling the stigma, isolation and discrimination that continues to plague people with mental health conditions, their families and carers. Key messages concerning Mental Health First Aid include: all members of the public can learn basic skills to help people with mental health problems; we need to aim to have large numbers of people trained throughout the world to be able to provide mental health first aid; parity is needed with the provision of physical first aid.

Problem Management Plus (PM+) Individual psychological help for adults impaired by distress in communities exposed to adversity

WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION
2016

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With this manual, the World Health Organization (WHO) is responding to requests from colleagues around the world who seek guidance on psychological interventions for people exposed to adversity.

The manual describes a scalable psychological intervention called Problem Management Plus (PM+) for adults impaired by distress in communities who are exposed to adversity. Aspects of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) have been changed to make them feasible in communities that do not have many specialists. To ensure maximum use, the intervention is developed in such a way that it can help people with depression, anxiety and stress, whether or not exposure to adversity has caused these problems. It can be applied to improve aspects of mental health and psychosocial well-being no matter how severe people’s problems are.

Improving Ghana’s mental healthcare through task-shifting-psychiatrists and health policy directors perceptions about government’s commitment and the role of community mental health workers

AGYAPONG, Vincent
et al
October 2016

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The aim of this study was to examine the perceptions of psychiatrists and health policy directors about the policy to expand mental health care delivery in Ghana through a system of task-shifting from psychiatrists to community mental health workers (CMHWs). A self-administered semi-structured questionnaire was developed and administered to 11 psychiatrists and 29 health policy directors. Key informant interviews were also held with five psychiatrists and four health policy directors. .

Globalization and Health (2016) 12:57

DOI 10.1186/s12992-016-0199-z

The promise and the reality: a mental health workforce perspective on technology-enhanced youth mental health service delivery

ORLOWSKI, Simone
LAWN, Sharon
MATTHEWS, Ben
et al
October 2016

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Digital technologies show promise for reversing poor engagement of youth (16–24 years) with mental health services. In particular, mobile and internet based applications with communication capabilities can augment face-to-face mental health service provision. Results of in-depth qualitative data drawn from various stakeholders involved in provision of youth mental health services in one Australian rural region are described. Data were obtained using focus groups and semi-structured interviews with regional youth mental health clinicians, youth workers and support/management staff and analysed via inductive thematic analysis. Six main themes were identified: young people in a digital age, personal connection, power and vulnerability, professional identity, individual factors and organisational legitimacy. 

 

DOI: 10.1186/s12913-016-1790-y

Being a refugee in Turkey and western Europe: how it affects mental health and psychosocial wellbeing

JOURNAL OF MENTAL AND PSYCHOSOCIAL SUPPORT IN CONFLICT AFFECTED AREAS
September 2016

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"In this personal reflection, the author is a Syrian refugee who describes his experiences as a psychosocial worker in Syria and with refugees in Turkey and Greece. He highlights how women and children lack safety in the camps. The second section discusses how he became a refugee himself. Due to his experiences in Syria, he now finds himself in a difficult situation in the Netherlands, the county where he applied for asylum and has received a permit, but his ‘cry for help’ remains unheard and unrecognised by the (health) workers in the asylum centre."

Mental health and psychosocial support for South Sudanese refugees in northern Uganda: a needs and resource assessment

ADAKU, Alex
et al
September 2016

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Since December 2013, an armed conflict in South Sudan has resulted in the displacement of over 2.2 million people, more than 270,000 of whom were, at the time of the research, in refugee settlements located throughout Uganda. A mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS)​MHPSS needs and resource assessment was carried out in Rhino Camp refugee settlement in northern Uganda, between June and August 2014 following World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) guidelines for MHPSS needs assessments in humanitarian settings. The assessment used a range of methodologies including: 1) a desk (literature) review to understand the context for mental health service provision; 2) an analysis of data from existing health information systems (HIS); 3) an assessment of the current infrastructure for service provision using a shortened version of a Who does What Where until When (4Ws); and 4) semi-structured individual and group interviews (total n = 86) with key informants (n = 13) and general community members (individual interviews n = 28, four focus groups with n = 45).

Mental Health Innovation Network (MHIN)

May 2016

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MHIN is a network  for the global mental health community to  communicate and share knowledge, experiences and resources to improve the quality and coverage of care. Provides searchable innovations and resources. The community area hosts blogs, podcasts, webinars and forums.

Living in hell : how people with mental health conditions in Indonesia are treated

HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH (HRW)
March 2016

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This report examines the abuses—including pasung—that persons with psychosocial disabilities face in the community, mental hospitals, and various other institutions in Indonesia, including stigma, arbitrary and prolonged detention, involuntary treatment, and physical and sexual violence. It also examines the government’s shortcomings in addressing these problems.

Based on research across the Indonesian islands of Java and Sumatra, Human Rights Watch documented 175 cases of persons with psychosocial disabilities in pasung or who were recently rescued from pasung. 

 

Living in hell : abuses against people with psychosocial disabilities in Indonesia

HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH (HRW)
March 2016

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This article with a video is related to a report examining the abuses—including pasung—that persons with psychosocial disabilities face in the community, mental hospitals, and various other institutions in Indonesia, including stigma, arbitrary and prolonged detention, involuntary treatment, and physical and sexual violence. It also examines the government’s shortcomings in addressing these problems.

Based on research across the Indonesian islands of Java and Sumatra, Human Rights Watch documented 175 cases of persons with psychosocial disabilities in pasung or who were recently rescued from pasung. 

 

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