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Closing the mental health treatment gap

24 August 2016
Closing the mental health treatment gap

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While tackling mental health is becoming more of a priority globally, many low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), where it is estimated over 90 per cent of mental health cases remain untreated, have little capacity to manage.

The team has designed tailor-made courses and resources and established training programmes that are being delivered in LMICs by local staff.

Professor Graham Thornicroft from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience (IoPPN) and researchers from 10 countries have been identifying health system barriers and finding robust, affordable ways to strengthen mental healthcare provision in order to close this treatment gap in Ethiopia, India, Nepal, Nigeria, South Africa and Uganda through the Emerald project. Their work is equipping local staff in these six countries with the skills they need to understand and treat mental health issues.

TPO Nepal's children program, copyright: TPO Nepal

TPO Nepal’s children program, copyright: TPO Nepal

From research based on interviews with patients, community members, policymakers and healthcare staff in the countries involved, the team has designed tailor-made courses and resources and established training programmes that are being delivered in LMICs by local staff.

Training opportunities include a King’s MSc in Global Mental Health, locally taught MSc level teaching modules and short courses for patients, policymakers and government planners as well as PhD programmes with scholarships offered to talented students from the countries affected.

Pilot-testing of a questionnaire with a community health worker at the Indian study site; copyright: Durgadas Menon, Public Health Foundation of India

Pilot-testing of a questionnaire with a community health worker at the Indian study site; copyright: Durgadas Menon, Public Health Foundation of India

Experts from across the whole consortium, linking centres north and south, have been travelling to the countries in a ‘train the trainers’ scheme to pass on knowledge to local staff and to leave a human resources legacy after the project ends.

To find out more about the Emerald Project, click here.

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