1. Africa has a historic opportunity now to improve the mental health and wellbeing of its citizens;
2. There is an urgent need for political vision, commitment and leadership at the highest level to encourage national dialogue on mental health. Governments should take the lead, while working with and supporting an inclusive, cross-sectoral, multi-stakeholder approach that has been found to be critical for dealing effectively with mental conditions and in addressing the social circumstances that create disability associated with these;
3. While supportive legislation and access to mental health services are crucial, there is urgent need to address stigma, social exclusion and discrimination as these greatly contribute to improving the quality of life. Communities that include service users, their families and other stakeholder groups must play a major role in bringing about these positive changes;
4. There is an opportunity for every African government to build on the MHAP to develop a National Mental Health Strategy and Plan (Roadmap). We support the evidence and experience that indicate that such a plan must:
i. Encompass the principle of parity in providing resources for mental and physical health alike;
ii. Integrate mental health care services at all levels of the health system, with a focus on integration into primary health care;
iii. Include provision of resources for training, supervising and supporting different cadres of health and other personnel with an emphasis on task-sharing;
iv. Take a life-course approach, recognising that there are different needs at different stages in life such as pregnancy, infancy, childhood and older age, and that investment in early intervention can reduce later disability;
v. Allow for targeting of actions to address the specific needs of groups such as women, the very poor, the homeless, etc - many of whom have been historically neglected. Such specific focus is necessary because these groups may have different risk factors, disease prevalence, and help-seeking behaviours;
vi. Be person-centred and holistic, providing psychological and social care as well as improving access to biomedical services;
vii. Specifically responds to the mental health needs that arise as a consequence of violence in society, especially against women and children;
viii. Include provision of care that is evidence-based and culturally appropriate; and
ix. Pay particular attention to the link between mental health and other health and development priorities like HIV/AIDS and Maternal and Child Health. Integrating mental health into other health and development initiatives provides an opportunity to improve outcomes in other sectors, while allowing efficient investment in mental health through these other programmes.
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Arturo Becerril, Mexico11 hours ago Comments: -
Janine1 week ago Comments: The strides we've made towards universal health coverage will be severely undermined by healthcare system that doesn't incorporate sound mental health interventions.
Shep Chidarikire2 weeks ago Comments: Time for action NOW.there is no health without mental health
- This petition will go live next week when an article offering background is published with the peer reviewed scholarly journal, Global Health Action.