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Year : 2011  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 125-136

Mental health training of primary health care workers: case reports from Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Jordan

psychiatrist (corresponding author), Mental Health Advisor for Cordaid, former Mental Health Coordinator for International Medical Corps in Sri Lanka and Pakistan and former Roving Mental Health Advisor for International Medical Corps in the Middle East, Vocarsko Naselje 22, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia. Tel: +38512320298, Croatia

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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Evidence suggests that providing support to primary health care with training, assistance and supervision by available mental health professionals is the best way to extend mental health care to the population. Three cases of mental health training programmes for primary health care workers were implemented in different countries, and are described in this article. The objective was to share the lessons learnt in different settings. Relevant primary and secondary data were used to present the cases. The mental health trainings generally improved the mental health knowledge of primary health care workers. More sustainable changes in their mental health care practices were achieved only as a result of several factors combined together: a) professionally designed and implemented mental health training; b) motivation by all key players to develop community mental health services; c) political will by the government followed by formulation of mental health policy promoting integration of mental health into primary care; d) good timing of the programme; and e) influx of funding and professional expertise. The findings of this article support the viewpoint of the World Health Organization that mental health training for primary health care workers is just one of the factors necessary for the successful integration of mental health care into primary health care.

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