Mental health must be integrated into care delivery

Woman stands while nursing a baby, solemn frown on her face
Photo by Jan Sochor/Photoshare

Mental health treatment is not available in many
developing countries but it could be provided if
integrated into existing health systems, scientists
say.

There is no health without mental health, a growing body of evidence indicates, yet this aspect of care is largely neglected in the developing world. Many live their daily lives amid grinding poverty, ongoing disease outbreaks, political instability and violence - yet there are few, if any, resources available to help them deal with the mental health issues that arise. Depression, anxiety disorders, substance abuse and other crippling conditions pose an enormous burden.

To address this misery, mental health care should be integrated into existing health systems and development programs, according to a landmark series of papers published recently by PLOS Medicine. The five articles are the result of an NIH workshop organized by Fogarty's Center for Global Health Studies and co-sponsored by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).

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Adapted from the July / August 2013 Global Health Matters article Mental health must be integrated into care delivery.

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