Mental health

The WHO mental health policy and service guidance package

Checklists and 13 user-friendly modules to support policy development and service planning

The WHO mental health policy and plan checklists

These two checklists are tools to help draft a mental health policy and plan as well as to evaluate their adequacy in terms of content and the process used for developing them.

The package

What is the purpose of the package?

The purpose of the guidance package is to assist policy-makers and planners to:

  • develop policies and comprehensive strategies for improving the mental health of populations;
  • use existing resources to achieve the greatest possible benefits;
  • provide effective services to those in need;
  • assist the reintegration of persons with mental disorders into all aspects of community life, thus improving their overall quality of life.
What is in the package?

The package consists of a series of interrelated user-friendly modules that are designed to address the wide variety of needs and priorities in policy development and service planning. The topic of each module represents a core aspect of mental health.

Mental Health Policy, Plans and Programmes is a central module, providing detailed information about the process of developing policy and implementing it through plans and programmes. Following a reading of this module, countries may wish to focus on specific aspects of mental health covered in other modules.

How to use the modules

They can be used individually or as a package. They are cross-referenced with each other for ease of use. Countries may wish to go through each of the modules systematically or may use a specific module when the emphasis is on a particular area of mental health. For example, countries wishing to address mental health legislation may find the module entitled Mental Health Legislation and Human Rights useful for this purpose.

They can be used as a training package for mental health policy-makers, planners and others involved in organizing, delivering and funding mental health services. They can be used as educational materials in university or college courses. Professional organizations may choose to use the package as an aid to training for persons working in mental health.

They can be used as a framework for technical consultancy by a wide range of international and national organizations that provide support to countries wishing to reform their mental health policy and/or services.

They can be used as advocacy tools by consumer, family and advocacy organizations. The modules contain useful information for public education and for increasing awareness among politicians, opinion-makers, other health professionals and the general public about mental disorders and mental health services.