Policy actions to achieve integrated community-based mental health services

DeSilva, M., Samele, C., Saxena, S., Patel, V., & Darzi, A. (2014). Policy actions to achieve integrated community-based mental health services. Health Affairs, 33(9), 1595-1602.

Globally, the majority of people with mental health problems do not receive evidence-based interventions that can transform their lives. We describe six mental health policy actions adopted at the World Innovation Summit for Health in 2013. For each policy action, we offer real-world examples of mental health innovations that governments and health care providers can implement to move toward universal health coverage for mental health. The six policy actions are empowering people with mental health problems and their families, building a diverse mental health workforce, developing collaborative and multidisciplinary mental health teams, using technology to increase access to mental health care, identifying and treating mental health problems early, and reducing premature mortality in people with mental health problems. Challenges to implementing these policy actions include the lack of recognition of mental health as a global health priority and the resulting lack of investment in mental health, the difficulties of integrating mental health into primary care health services because of a scarcity of human and financial resources, and the lack of evidence on the effectiveness and costs of taking innovations to a national scale.

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