Noncommunicable diseases and mental health

Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse (MSD)


To foster activities in the field of mental health, including those affecting the harmony of human relations. (WHO Constitution)


To reduce the burden associated with mental, neurological and substance use disorders, and to promote mental health worldwide.


  • enhancement of mental health in the public health agenda;
  • provision of reliable information base;
  • provision of technical guidance;
  • strengthening mental health and substance abuse policies.

Strategic approach

  • a reliable information base on mental health, neurological and substance abuse problems and service systems;
  • evidence-based technical guidance on mental health and substance abuse;
  • strengthening policies and systems for mental, neurological and substance abuse care;
  • strengthening capacity on mental health and substance abuse policies and systems to deliver services that are effective, adequate and respect the human rights of affected individuals, and respond to emerging mental health problems such as emergencies and HIV/AIDS.

Core functions

  • Partnership: with existing and new stakeholders, and bringing together;
  • Managing Information: collect and disseminate essential information on magnitude, burdens, risk factors, available resources and existing services;
  • Guidance: technical guidelines, training materials and tools on policy, programmes, legislation and management;
  • Policy support: work with WHO regional and country offices to assess, support and strengthen country systems.