Untreated mental disorders are a huge challenge for healthcare systems
worldwide. Treatment possibilities are particularly scarce in low-income
countries (LICs). WHO estimates that up to 85% of all people with a mental
disorder in LICs do not have access to evidence-based treatment.
paper seeks to explore the rationale behind the WHO recommendations for
improving mental health services in LICs. At the core of these recommendations
is an integration of mental health services into existing primary healthcare.
This article presents available research supporting this approach. Furthermore,
it highlights challenges needing special attention and opportunities demanding
additional research to guide a comprehensive restructuring of a healthcare
literature review of WHO documents and searches on PubMed for relevant
Research from LICs that investigate mental health interventions is scarce. The
evidence that does exist favours integration into primary healthcare. There is
evidence that collaborative- and stepped-care interventions can provide viable
treatment options for patients.
Integration of mental health services into primary healthcare seems like a
viable solution to ensure that treatment becomes more available, even though
the evidence is limited. Locally conducted research is needed to guide the
development of sustainable evidence-based mental health treatment, involving
relevant healthcare providers, with optimal task-sharing and possibilities for
referral of complex cases. Furthermore, to achieve this, comprehensive
political will and investments are necessary pre-requisites.
For more details about this article, please contact Carina Winkler Sørensen: firstname.lastname@example.org