SPECIAL SECTION

Integrating mental health into primary health care settings after an emergency: lessons from Haiti

Following the 2010 Haiti earthquake, there was a need for specialist services for severely mentally ill people who were presenting to the emergency medical clinics set up for displaced people. That need was unmet. Using guidelines drawn up by the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC), and piloting the Health Information System (HIS) of diagnostic categories in mental health, weekly mental health clinics were begun in eight mobile clinics.

Strategy for providing integrated mental health/psychosocial support in post earthquake Haiti

The recent earthquake in Haiti exposed all the weaknesses in the mental health care system existing prior to the earthquake. This paper describes the strategy developed by the Dutch nongovernmental organisation Cordaid for providing integrated mental health and psychosocial support in Haiti after the earthquake.

Emergencies and disasters as opportunities to improve mental health systems: Peruvian experience in Huancavelica

The paper describes the development of a community oriented mental health care system in the Region of Huancavelica (Peru), after a devastating earthquake in 2007. The area is also one of the most inaccessible and disadvantaged areas of Peru.

Takamol: multi-professional capacity building in order to strengthen the psychosocial and mental health sector in response to refugee crises in Syria

The massive influx of Iraqi refugees into Syria in 2006 put an immense strain on the already under-resourced mental health sector. This prompted a consortium of international agencies to create an Interagency Working Group (IAWG) in 2008, with the goal of national capacity building. This Interagency Working group merged into a National Advisory Board that included the Syrian government. An integrated one-year master training programme for mental health professionals was designed.

The integration of mental health into primary health care in Lebanon

In Lebanon, the International Medical Corps is working to address the multiple needs of Iraqi refugees, as well as the long term needs of the vulnerable host population, by integrating mental health services into primary health care (PHC). Over the past two years, 152 PHC providers (doctors, nurses and social workers) were trained in the identification, management and referral of people with mental health problems.

Scaling up of mental health and trauma support among war affected communities in northern Uganda: lessons learned

In 2008, the local nongovernmental organisation TPO Uganda and the Uganda Ministry of Health began a project aimed of improving the availability of mental health services in three districts in Northern Uganda.

Integrating mental health into primary care in Africa: the case of Equatorial Guinea

The Spanish Cooperation, through the nongovernmental organisation Sanitary Religious Federation and the financing of the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation conducted an assessment of the mental health care system in Equatorial Guinea in 2009. There was no specific mental health policy in place, and no formalised mental health care system. A National Mental Health Policy has recently been approved, and an implementation plan was made by the government and nongovernmental organisations.

Psychosocial interventions, or integrated programming for well-being?

Over the past 25 years, humanitarian programming has increasingly included attention to the psychological and social impacts of conflict. Over this time, a wide variety of approaches have been developed to address these ‘psychosocial’ issues. The authors argue that labelling these approaches, as a distinct and separate sector of activity is not helpful, either conceptually or programmatically.

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