King's contributes to WHO Guidelines
Posted on 08/10/2010
Professor Graham Thornicroft
The World Health Organization (WHO) has launched new mental health Gap Action Programme (mhGAP) Intervention Guidelines with important contributions from Professors Graham Thornicroft, Martin Prince and Colin Drummond, Institute of Psychiatry at King's College London and Centre for Global Mental Health, King's Health Partners .
The guidelines are on the management of depression, alcohol use disorders, epilepsy and other common mental disorders in the primary health-care settings in low and middle income countries.
Millions of people with common, but untreated, mental, neurological and substance use disorders can now benefit from new simplified diagnosis and treatment guidelines drawn up by 200 specialists from around the world. The Intervention Guidelines extend competence in diagnosis and management to non-mental health specialists including doctors, nurses and other health providers. These evidence-based guidelines are presented as flow charts to simplify the process of providing care in the primary health-care setting.
Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization said: 'In a key achievement, the Intervention Guidelines transform a world of expertise and clinical experience, contributed by hundreds of experts, into less than 100 pages of clinical wisdom and succinct practical advice.'
Professor Thornicroft, who chaired the Guideline Development Group with Dr Shekhar Saxena, Director, Mental Health and Substance Abuse Department, WHO, said: 'These are the first World Health Organisation mental health guidelines for practitioners in low income countries and are a very important step forward to improve care for people with mental disorders worldwide. Using these guidelines, we can now say to governments across the world that diagnosing and treating people with mental disorders is possible and affordable if there is the political will and the collaboration of all stakeholders.'
The WHO estimates that more than 75 per cent of people with mental, neurological and substance use disorders - including nearly 95 million people with depression and more than 25 million people with epilepsy - living in developing countries do not receive any treatment or care. Placing the ability to diagnose and treat them into the primary health care system will significantly increase the number of people who can access care.
An estimated one in four people globally will experience a mental health condition in their lifetime. People with mental, neurological and substance use disorders are often stigmatized and subject to neglect and abuse. The resources available are insufficient, inequitably distributed and inefficiently used. In the majority of countries, less than 2 per cent of health funds are spent on mental health. As a result, a large majority of people with these disorders receive no care at all.
WHO in collaboration with partners will provide technical support to countries to implement the guidelines and has already initiated the programme for scaling up care in six countries; Ethiopia, Jordan, Nigeria, Panama, Sierra Leone and Solomon Islands.
Notes to editors
For further information on the mhGAP Intervention Guidelines for mental, neurological and substance use disorders in non-specialized health settings published by WHO can be found here: http://www.who.int/mental_health/evidence/mhGAP_intervention_guide/en/index.html
For information about the King's College London Health Service and Population Research Department see: http://hsr.iop.kcl.ac.uk.
For information about the King's Health Partners Centre for Global Mental Health: http://www.centreforglobalmentalhealth.org/
King's College London
King's College London is one of the top 25 universities in the world (2010 QS international world rankings), The Sunday Times 'University of the Year 2010/11' and the fourth oldest in England. A research-led university based in the heart of London, King's has nearly 23,000 students (of whom more than 8,600 are graduate students) from nearly 140 countries, and some 5,500 employees. King's is in the second phase of a £1 billion redevelopment programme which is transforming its estate.
King's has an outstanding reputation for providing world-class teaching and cutting-edge research. In the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise for British universities, 23 departments were ranked in the top quartile of British universities; over half of our academic staff work in departments that are in the top 10 per cent in the UK in their field and can thus be classed as world leading. The College is in the top seven UK universities for research earnings and has an overall annual income of nearly £450 million.
King's has a particularly distinguished reputation in the humanities, law, the sciences (including a wide range of health areas such as psychiatry, medicine, nursing and dentistry) and social sciences including international affairs. It has played a major role in many of the advances that have shaped modern life, such as the discovery of the structure of DNA and research that led to the development of radio, television, mobile phones and radar. It is the largest centre for the education of healthcare professionals in Europe; no university has more Medical Research Council Centres.
King's College London and Guy's and St Thomas', King's College Hospital and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trusts are part of King's Health Partners. King's Health Partners Academic Health Sciences Centre (AHSC) is a pioneering global collaboration between one of the world's leading research-led universities and three of London's most successful NHS Foundation Trusts, including leading teaching hospitals and comprehensive mental health services. For more information, visit: www.kingshealthpartners.org.
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