The WHO mental health policy and service guidance package

Checklists and 14 user-friendly modules to support policy development and service planning


The WHO mental health policy and service guidance package consists of:

The WHO mental health policy and plan checklists

Once a policy/draft policy and/or plan have been drawn up in a country, it is important to conduct an assessment of whether certain processes have been followed that are likely to lead to the success of the policy, and whether various content issues have been addressed and appropriate actions included in the policy and/or the plan. In order to assist with this evaluation, WHO has developed two checklists to assess the adequacy and the content of a mental health policy and/or plan as well as the process 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:

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.

The starting point is the module entitled The Mental Health Context, which outlines the global context of mental health and summarizes the content of all the modules. This module should give readers an understanding of the global context of mental health, and should enable them to select specific modules that will be useful to them in their own situations.

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.

14 modules for mental health policy, planning and service development

The guidance package includes the following 14 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.

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