WHO country-by-country approach to the WHO Special Initiative for Mental Health
The status of mental health care varies widely from country to country. Many countries already have policies to deliver services for mental health conditions in primary care settings but require system strengthening to achieve integration.
Many countries deliver care mainly in institutional settings and need dedicated advocacy and support in phasing out long-stay institutions and developing community-based alternatives.Some countries may require support for policy development or to implement mental health reform efforts. By taking a country-by-country approach,
WHO can help formulate a tailored approach for each priority country, building on existing strengths and needs. A key advantage to a country by-country approach is sustainability. Over recent decades, there has been a focus on small mental health initiatives that have had only short-term funding. This limits impact and has not paved the way for sustainable scale up to reach whole populations. Further, it has led to ad-hoc learning about the facilitators and barriers to scaling up effective interventions or strengthening systems to embed mental health care. By focusing on countries (or large regions within countries) and supporting them consistently for up to five years, WHO can glean systematic learnings to inform scale up in additional countries.