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mhGAP Intervention Guide for mental, neurological and substance use disorders in non-specialized health settings.

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Mental Health Gap Action Programme (mhGAP) – Background


According to WHO Mental Health Atlas 2014, more than 45% of the world's population lives in a country where there is less than 1 psychiatrist for every 100,000 people and there are even fewer neurologists. It is clear that relying solely on specialists to provide services for people affected by mental, neurological, and substance use (MNS) disorders would prevent millions of people from accessing the services they need. Even when available, the interventions often are not evidence-based or of high quality. The Mental Health Gap Action Programme (mhGAP) was thus developed with the objective of scaling up care for MNS disorders. The mhGAP approach consists of interventions for the prevention and management of priority MNS conditions, identified on the basis of evidence about the effectiveness and feasibility of scaling up these interventions in low- and middle-income countries. Priority conditions were identified based on the criteria that they represented a high burden (in terms of mortality, morbidity, and disability), resulted in large economic costs, or were associated with violations of human rights. These priority conditions include depression, psychoses, self-harm/suicide, epilepsy, dementia, disorders due to substance use, and mental and behavioral disorders in children and adolescents. The mhGAP-Intervention Guide (mhGAP-IG) is a resource to facilitate the delivery of the mhGAP evidence-based guidelines in non-specialized healthcare settings. The Uptake of mhGAP-IG Version 1.0 by WHO Member States and other stakeholders has been remarkable and clearly shows the need for such a tool. mhGAP-IG Version 1.0 has been used at the country level through the following varied methods: most commonly, as a key tool in the phased approach to scale up mental health services on a regional, national, and sub-national level.

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