To ensure quality mental health care is more widely available for those affected by conflict and crises, International Medical Corps launched a toolkit today that will help the humanitarian community better integrate mental health into primary health care programs. The Toolkit for the Integration of Mental Health into General Healthcare in Humanitarian Settings is an interactive guide that empowers users to plan, design, and implement more effective and sustainable mental health programs.
Approximately seventy-five percent of people with mental health problems in low-income countries have no access to appropriate services, according to the World Health Organization. Despite the fact that those affected by crises and disasters are at particular risk of mental health problems, providing appropriate mental health services remain a critical but often unmet humanitarian need.
“We have long known that the most sustainable way to close the gap of untreated mental illness is to integrate mental health into general healthcare,” said Dr. Inka Weissbecker, Senior Global Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Advisor at International Medical Corps. “This interactive toolkit is a valuable new resource to help humanitarians, donors, and governments understand and implement best practices for effective mental health integration that is tailored to the specific needs of those affected by disasters and crises.”
International Medical Corps has drawn upon its experience of over a decade of implementing integrated mental health programming in multiple low and middle income settings affected by humanitarian crises to develop this new toolkit. It is built around a three step process: assessing and planning for mental health integration; building the capacity of local healthcare workers; and strengthening mental health services and systems. The toolkit also includes critical crosscutting components: monitoring, evaluation, accountability, and learning; advocacy, coordination, and networking; and sustainability. The Toolkit is based on the latest global guidelines and evidence on effective mental health integration programming and includes specific examples from the field.
The Toolkit was produced with the generous support of the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance and is being hosted online and disseminated by the Mental Health Innovation Network.
To access the Toolkit for the Integration of Mental Health into General Healthcare in Humanitarian Settings, please visit: http://www.mhinnovation.net/collaborations/IMC-Mental-Health-Integration-Toolkit.