Developing a National Mental Health Policy

Developing a National Mental Health Policy

Developing a National Mental Health Policy

Developing a National Mental Health Policy

Synopsis

Mental illness causes a substantial health burden in all regions of the world, and is a major contributor to world poverty. Developing a National Mental Health Policy is designed to support those involved in developing locally appropriate mental health policies, emphasising the crucial role of primary care, NGOs, the social sector, schools and workplaces, and the criminal justice system as well as the specialist mental health services. The book addresses the principles of human rights, mental health legislation, mental health information systems, human resources, accountability and financing as well as key cultural issues. It gives a comprehensive and up to date account of the task of tailoring mental health services to the needs of countries in the post-institutional era.

Excerpt

Mental illness causes a substantial health burden in all regions of the world. This burden is not only from disability and suicide, but also from the loss of economic productivity, family burden, reduced access to and success of health promotion, prevention and treatment programmes, and mortality from the associated vulnerability to physical disease, including infectious diseases.

The goal of DFID is the alleviation of poverty. Mental health differentially affects the poor and impedes the achievement of other health and development targets. Therefore DFID welcomes the timely publication of this important book which is designed to support those involved in developing locally appropriate mental health policies in the different regions of the world, and to increase local capacity in policy, strategic development and implementation.

The book takes a broad and contextual approach to mental health policy, emphasising the crucial role of primary care, NGOs, the social sector, schools and workplaces, and the criminal justice system as well as the specialist services. It highlights the importance of liaison at national, regional and local levels between the relevant sectors, and contains very useful chapters on the principles of human rights and mental health legislation, mental health information systems and human resource strategies. The important issues of accountability and financing are considered, as well as key cultural issues and the importance of dialogue with traditional healers. The book represents an excellent, practical and supportive guide for those who should be engaged in mental health, and will be an invaluable tool as we work towards promoting, protecting and improving mental health in poor countries, and the incorporation of mental health issues into broader health sector and poverty reduction processes.

Julian Lob Levyt
Department for International Development (DFID), UK

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