Mental Health and Primary Care

Integrating mental health into primary Care-A global perspective

Integrating mental health into primary care-A global perspective

A joint publication by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Organization of Family Doctors (WONCA) to promote the vision of primary care for mental health. It reaffirms the urgent importance and advantage of redressing the limited vision, presents the justification, advice and advantages of providing mental health services into primary care systems around the world. It describes how a range of health systems have successfully undertaken this transformation.

Mental disorders affect hundreds of millions of people. It created an enormous toll of suffering, disability and economic loss for the untreated people who are left behind. Integrating mental health services to primary care is the most viable way of ensuring that people get the mental health treatment and care they need. 

The report is divided into two parts. Part 1 provides the context for understanding primary care for mental health within the broader health care system. Part 2 explains how to successfully integrate mental health into primary care and highlights 10 common principles which are central to this effort. Finally, Annex 1 provides information about the skills and competencies that are required to effectively assess, diagnose, treat, support and refer people with mental disorders. 

This book shows that treating mental disorders as early as possible, holistically and close to the person's home and community lead to the best health outcomes. In addition, primary care offers unparalled opportunities for the prevention of mental disorders and mental health promotion, for family and community education, and for collaboration with other sectors.

Technical information concerning this publication can be obtained from:

Dr Michelle Funk 
Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse 
World Health Organization 
20 Avenue Appia 
CH-1211 Geneva 27 
Tel: +41 22 791 3855 
Fax: +41 22 791 4160 

Dr Gabriel Ivbijaro
Wonca Working Party on Mental Health 
The Wood Street Health Centre
6 Linford Road, Walthamstow
London E17 3LA
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 208 430 7712
Fax: +44 208 430 7711