Blue Print Group Webinar: Building Cross-Sectoral Opportunities between HIV, TB and Mental Health

The Blue Print Group is a group of mental health stakeholders who share information and work together to advocate for increased political and financial support for mental health. Coordinated by United for Global Mental Health (UnitedGMH), the Blue Print group was established to promote a collaborative approach to advocacy efforts for mental health.

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The global mental health field clearly recognises the importance of not working in silos or thinking mental health affects a certain number of people but identifying it affects people who have other primary problems e.g. health problems including long-standing chronic diseases such as HIV and TB.

This webinar discusses how we can think collaboratively as global actors in the field to understand how we are going to have an impact on some of the sectors outside of mental health that we know can make a large contribution and impact on the integration and building of cross-sectoral opportunities between HIV, TB and mental health.  As well as, who we can work with and leverage to get this to the top of agendas.

This webinar included a group of experts who have worked in the field of HIV, TB and mental health:

  • Pamela Collins (Professor, Psychiatry & Global Health (Washington university))
  • Annika Sweetland Assistant Professor, Psychiatry
  • Nigel Taylor (Independent Consultant)
  • Melquiades Huauya Ore (TB and Mental Health Champion (Strongheart service Advocate))

Key messages:

  • There is a clear bi-directional relationship of those with HIV, TB and mental health conditions. 1 in 4 in Sub-Saharan Africa are living with HIV and a mental health condition
  • Addressing mental health from a TB perspective is critical to ending the epidemic
  • Treatment addressing both contributes to better HIV and TB outcomes and demonstrates the importance of integrating mental health into development priorities
  • Integration of HIV, TB and mental health services should be a part of universal health coverage
  • There is high receptivity and opportunities for integrating low-cost evidence-based interventions delivered by non-specialists in primary care so we need to advocate for integration and to demonstrate the impact of mental health integration into priorities

Opportunities and recommendations

HIV/AIDS and mental health

  1. Engage with multilateral organizations to develop guidance around the integration of NCD and HIV care across the life course and for high risk populations (e.g. adolescence, those affected by stigma) and utilize existing guidelines for action (WHO guidelines for management of physical health disorders)
  2. Encourage donors to invest in MH integration projects by identifying and capitalizing on priorities of interest (e.g. scaling up treatment and adherence within populations and communities)
  3. Learn from and integrate efforts to advocate along with the strong user-led movement for HIV/AIDS and co-create an agreed narrative for the rationale on integrating mental health into movement to end the HIV/AIDS  (opportunity to utilize the 90/90/90 targets here)

TB and mental health

  1. A number of different strategic advantages for promoting inclusion of MH into TB management that can be leveraged through advocacy efforts
  2. Utilize evidence for the high receptivity of countries (65% willingness to integrate MH support services) to include mental health components to their TB programmes (opportunities for national-led advocacy programmes)
  3. Work with WHO to support the promotion of mhGAP guidelines (first time ever) in the companion handbook of TB management in the community
  4. Engage with and advocate through strong user-voice for the advantages of MH support in TB management i.e. building resilience, re-integration into community etc.

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