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Improving mental health care in resource-poor settings

European Commission (EC)
Field of Expertise:
Health Service Delivery; Non communicable diseases (NCD); Mental health
Narrative description of project:
This assignment is part of the Health Advisory Services – HAS project (EUR 1.999.715,00, 10/2014-10/2017, managed by hera consortium). Its identification number within the HAS is HAS 025.
The HAS provides technical support to the European Commission (DEVCO/HQ) and the EU Delegations for a period of three years. DG DEVCO contracted the HAS to support the implementation of its health aid policies and programmes; strengthen the capacity of EU Delegations and DEVCO/HQ; and tackle other issues for which in-house thematic capacity is lacking or insufficient.

The Global Burden of Disease study (2010) showed the great global importance of ‘mental health’ as a chronic, debilitating condition, impacting negatively on the quality of life. Especially in resource-poor and fragile settings in LDCs and LMICs, access to effective mental health care is poor. Investments in operational research on preventing and treating MNS disorders in these settings is disproportionally low relative to their public health importance. Worldwide, there are scattered, interesting experiences on integrating effective mental health care in primary health care; however, there is still a lack of a clear overview of ‘what works’ in which context; there is a need to bundle lessons learnt and to identify replicable experiences.
The purpose of the assignment was to (i) raise awareness among EU staff, EU MS and other stakeholders for evidence-based, effective mental health interventions integrated in basic health care; (ii) promote a leading role of the EU in developing and supporting practical and effective approaches of basic mental health care in countries where health is a ‘focal sector’ for development cooperation; and (iii) promote the development of a relevant agenda for operational research that can be co-financed by EU.