In line with International Medical Corps’ global approach, we work in partnership with relevant ministries of national governments and the World Health Organization to develop country-specific mental health programming based on an assessment of existing health systems and strategies.

We use a comprehensive approach to adapt training materials to the local context, provide both theoretical training and supervision, support institutional capacity building and evaluate results to inform policy, practice and expansion of services.

Integration of mental health services into general healthcare improves the availability, quality, acceptability and accessibility of mental health care. It reduces costs for—and stigma toward—service users. It is effectively an investment for all sectors, since improving the overall well-being of communities can enhance economic development and societal welfare. From the start, International Medical Corps works to maximize the use of existing government healthcare infrastructure and other resources, consistent with national capacities and strategies. This helps promote sustainability and a smooth transition from emergency response conditions to longer-term development. Continuous policy dialogue with government and key stakeholders is necessary to maintain the supplies of medicines, achieve consistent and uninterrupted supervision, and conduct coherent annual planning.

International Medical Corps understands that integration is most successful when mental health is incorporated into health policy and legislative initiatives that are backed by adequate resources.

Our Response

International Medical Corps aims to strengthen mental health and psychosocial services through integration into primary healthcare and community services by training healthcare staff and paraprofessionals to provide mental health care and expand community and family supports. By training non-specialized healthcare providers to identify and manage priority conditions consistent with recommendations by the World Health Organization, International Medical Corps has been implementing programs integrating mental health into general health care for many years in over countries around the world, including Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Ethiopia, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Liberia, Nepal, the Philippines, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Syria and Turkey. To close the gap between those who need mental health services and those who have access to them, integrating mental health into primary healthcare in humanitarian settings is a critical and evidence-based approach.

Highlights & Resources

International Medical Corps has evaluated and documented the integration of mental health into general healthcare using WHO mhGAP-IG intervention guidelines. Using a mixed-methods approach to evaluate programming in the Philippines, South Sudan and Central African Republic, our “2016 Mental Health Integration into General Health Care: A Step Wise Approach” lays out guidance on a six-step approach to integrate mental health care in humanitarian settings. Read more here.

We collaborated with key national stakeholders from health ministries and international NGO partners during workshops with the three program countries, and developed a toolkit for implementing mental health programs as part of the health system in humanitarian settings. The toolkit clearly outlines the steps for implementing integrated mental health programs in humanitarian settings and provides valuable guidance for better resource allocation, program design, implementation and evaluation. Find more details here.

Other resources include the following:

The integration of mental health into primary health care in Lebanon – Zeinab Hijazi, Inka Weissbecker & Rabih Chammay

Policy Brief: An integrated approach to strengthening mental health services in the Middle East

Infographic: Filling the Gap: Strengthening Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in the Middle East through an Integrated Approach

Our programs have long prioritized the integration of mental health into general healthcare.

We use a comprehensive approach to mental health integration, integrating mental health into primary health in countries around the world.

Additional Resources