This briefing was based on published research by Eaton J, McCay L, Semrau M, Chatterjee S, Baingana F, Araya R, Ntulo C, Thornicroft G, Saxena, S. Scaling up of services for mental health in low-income and middle-income countries. Lancet (2011) 378:1592-1603.
There is a well-documented gap between mental health needs and available care, and a strong moral and economic case for investing in services to close this gap. However, while there is now a strong evidence-base, for there to be a significant global impact, mental health initiatives need to be planned and developed in a strategic way that will enable significant scaling up of services.
Mental illness represents one of the highest burden of all disease, and is a major factor in perpetuating poverty. Currently, around 80% of people in low-income countries do not receive treatment that would effectively reduce impairment.
There are many diverse examples of mental health programmes offering services, including in Low and Middle-Income Countries (LAMICs), but although many are doing good work, few are evaluated, remaining hidden from view.
Although a sound evidence base now exists, and new resources are available, this is not yet being accessed by service implementers.
The findings propose the scaling up of mental health services in an inclusive, systematic and strategic manner that requires strong advocacy for financial commitment.
Eaton, J.; McCay, L.; Semrau, M.; Chatterjee, S.; Baingana, F.; Araya, R.; Ntulo, C.; Thornicroft, G.; Saxena, S. PRIME Policy Brief 2. Scale up of services for mental health in low-income and middle-income countries. PRIME, University of Cape Town, Rondebosch, South Africa (2013) 4 pp.