[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: How do practitioners respond to the mental distress of HIV-affected women and communities? And do their understandings of patients' distress matter? The World Health Organization (WHO) along with advocates from the Movement for Global Mental Health (MGMH) champion a primary mental health care model to address burgeoning mental health needs in resource-poor HIV-affected settings. Whilst a minority of studies have begun to explore interventions to target this group of women, there is a dearth of studies that explore the broader contexts that will likely shape service outcomes, such as health sector dynamics and competing definitions of mental ill-health. This study reports on an in-depth case study of primary mental health services in a rural HIV-affected community in Northern KwaZulu-Natal. Health professionals identified as the frontline staff working within the primary mental health care model (n ¼ 14) were interviewed. Grounded thematic analysis of interview data highlighted that practitioners employed a critical and socially anchored framework for understanding their patients' needs. Poverty, gender and family relationships were identified as intersecting factors driving HIV-affected patients' mental distress. In a diver-gence from existing evidence, practitioner efforts to act on their understandings of patient needs prioritized social responses over biomedical ones. To achieve this whilst working within a primary mental health care model, practitioners employed a series of modifications to services to increase their ability to target the sociostructural realities facing HIV-affected women with mental health issues. This article suggests that beyond attention to the crucial issues of funding and human resources that face primary mental health care, attention must also be paid to promoting the development of policies that provide practitioners with increased and more consistent opportunities to address the complex social realities that frame the mental distress of HIV-affected women. Practitioners working in a primary mental health care model account for distress using a social discourse rather than a biomedical one. To respond to the social needs of patients practitioners developed new strategies to work around the current structure of services. Practitioner strategies signal the need to expand attention to the social needs of HIV-affected women in resource-poor settings within primary mental health care services.
Health Policy and Planning 08/2014; DOI:10.1093/heapol/czu092 · 3.00 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This article charts the historical development of the discipline of global mental health, whose goal is to improve access to mental health care and reduce inequalities in mental health outcomes between and within nations. The article begins with an overview of the contribution of four scientific foundations toward the discipline's core agenda: to scale up services for people with mental disorders and to promote their human rights. Next, the article highlights four recent, key events that are indicative of the actions shaping the discipline: the Mental Health Gap Action Programme to synthesize evidence on what treatments are effective for a range of mental disorders; the evidence on task shifting to nonspecialist health workers to deliver these treatments; the Movement for Global Mental Health's efforts to build a common platform for professionals and civil society to advocate for their shared goal; and the Grand Challenges in Global Mental Health, which has identified the research priorities that, within the next decade, can lead to substantial improvements in the lives of people living with mental disorders. The article ends by examining the major challenges for the field, and the opportunities for addressing them in the future.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The United Nations General Assembly has convened a Summit on non-communicable diseases (NCDs), an historic moment in the global combat of these disorders. Lifestyles in increasingly urban and globalised environments have led to a steep surge in NCD incidence in low and middle income countries, where two thirds of all NCD deaths occur (most importantly from cancer, cardiovascular and respiratory disease as well as diabetes). Treatment of NCDs is usually long term and expensive, thus threatening patients' and nations' budgets and putting them at high risk for poverty. The NCD Summit offers an opportunity for strengthening and shaping primary prevention, the most cost-effective instrument to fight major risk factors such as tobacco smoking, alcohol abuse, physical inactivity and unhealthy diet. From a Swiss perspective, we also emphasised the efforts for new laws on prevention and diagnosis registration, in accordance with the recommendations of the NCD summit in order to strengthen primary prevention and disease monitoring. In addition, the need for structural prevention across all policy sectors with leadership in environmental policy making to prevent NCDs as well as the need to adapt and strengthen primary health care are equally relevant for Switzerland. To compliment efforts in primary prevention, the field of NCDs requires special R&D platforms for affordable NCD drugs and diagnostics for neglected population segments in both Switzerland and low and middle income countries. Switzerland has a track record in research and development against diseases of poverty on a global scale that now needs to be applied to NCDs.
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