The role of situational analysis in developing mental health policy is outlined and recommendations for the content of a situational analysis are presented. Situational analysis of mental health in four African countries was undertaken as part of the Mental Health and Poverty Project (MHaPP); examples from Uganda, South Africa, Ghana and Zambia are used to illustrate the recommendations, which are made under the headings:
1. Country general context
2. General health context
3. Policy & legislative framework
5: Mental health needs and current service utilization
6. Mental health financing
7. Mental health services and their organization
8 . Intersectoral collaboration.
Mental Health Policy and Service Development, Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland, 4 pp.