Research Article: Significance of mental health legislation for successful primary care for mental health and community mental health services: A review

Date Published: March 29, 2018

Publisher: AOSIS

Author(s): Getinet Ayano.

http://doi.org/10.4102/phcfm.v10i1.1429

Abstract

Mental health legislation (MHL) is required to ensure a regulatory framework for mental health services and other providers of treatment and care, and to ensure that the public and people with a mental illness are afforded protection from the often-devastating consequences of mental illness.

To provide an overview of evidence on the significance of MHL for successful primary care for mental health and community mental health services

A qualitative review of the literature on the significance of MHL for successful primary care for mental health and community mental health services was conducted.

In many countries, especially in those who have no MHL, people do not have access to basic mental health care and treatment they require. One of the major aims of MHL is that all people with mental disorders should be provided with treatment based on the integration of mental health care services into the primary healthcare (PHC). In addition, MHL plays a crucial role in community integration of persons with mental disorders, the provision of care of high quality, the improvement of access to care at community level. Community-based mental health care further improves access to mental healthcare within the city, to have better health and mental health outcomes, and better quality of life, increase acceptability, reduce associated social stigma and human rights abuse, prevent chronicity and physical health comorbidity will likely to be detected early and managed.

Mental health legislation plays a crucial role in community integration of persons with mental disorders, integration of mental health at primary health care, the provision of care of high quality and the improvement of access to care at community level. It is vital and essential to have MHL for every country.

Partial Text

About 14% of the global burden of disease is explained by mental disorders; mostly chronically disabling illness, depression and other common mental disorders such as psychosis1,2 and this will rise to 15% by the year 2020. For disability alone, without the effects of premature mortality, the impact of neuropsychiatric conditions is starker still: they account for 31% of all years lived with disability. The stigma and violations of human rights directed towards people with these disorders compound the problem.3

The aim of this study is to provide an overview of evidence in order to inform potential policy makers and direct researchers that the presence of MHLs plays a crucial role in community integration of persons with mental disorders, integration of mental health at primary health care, the provision of care of high quality and the improvement of access to care at community level.

To my knowledge, there are no such reviews aimed at relating significance of MHL for successful primary care for mental health and CMH services.

One of the major important components and aims of MHLs is informing and enforcing that all people with mental disorders should be provided with treatment based on integration of mental healthcare services into the PHC except in very rare circumstances, that is, if there is a risk of self-harm or harm to other people or if the treatment can only be provided in specialised mental health care centres and in institutional settings. The presence of MHLs is important for integration of mental healthcare services for persons with mental disorders at primary health care level, the provision of care of high quality, the improvement of access to care and promoting mental health and preventing mental disorders.4

Community mental health services (CMHS) refers to a system of care in which the patient’s community, not a specific facility such as a hospital, is the primary provider of care for people with a mental illness. The goal of CMH services often includes much more than simply providing outpatient psychiatric treatment.20

I found that only about one-third (36%) of people living in low-income countries are covered by MHL, whereas the corresponding rate of coverage in most high-income countries is 92%. In many countries, especially in those that have no MHLs people do not have access to basic mental health care and treatment they require. In others, the absence of community-based mental health care means the only care available is in psychiatric institutions, which are associated with gross human rights violations including inhuman and degrading treatment and living conditions.

 

Source:

http://doi.org/10.4102/phcfm.v10i1.1429

 

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