In 2014, in response to the urgent need to strengthen the mental health system in the country, and building on the support provided by WHO, UNICEF and IMC, the MoPH launched the NMHP to reform the mental health system in the country and scale up services with the following components:
- Vision: All people living in Lebanon will have the opportunity to enjoy the best possible mental health and wellbeing.
- Mission: To ensure the development of a sustainable mental health system that guarantees the provision and universal accessibility of high quality mental health curative and preventive services through a cost-effective, evidence-based and multidisciplinary approach, with an emphasis on community involvement, continuum of care, human rights, and cultural relevance.
- Values and guiding principles: Autonomy, Dignity, Participation, Empowerment, Accountability and integrity, Quality.
In May 2015, after a process involving all key mental health stakeholders in the country, the Programme launched the “Mental Health and Substance Use Strategy for Lebanon 2015-2020”. (4) A priority goal of this strategy is the reorientation of services towards a cost-effective community-based model, in line with Human Rights and the latest evidence for best practices. In line with the Strategy, seven cost-effective and evidence-based strategic interventions are being implemented to increase universal accessibility to high-quality preventive and curative mental health services. These interventions include:
- Integration of mental health into primary health care using the WHO Mental Health Gap Action Programme adapted for Lebanon
- Development of community-based multidisciplinary mental health teams
- Evidence-based psychotherapies (Inter-personal Psychotherapy) training
- Piloting guided self-help e-mental health services
- Development of an inter-sectoral referral system for crisis management
- Rolling-out Psychological First Aid training
- Regular monitoring of mental health facilities to ensure protection of human, child and women’s rights of persons with mental disorders using the WHO Quality rights toolkit
In addition, to coordinate the MHPSS response to the Syrian crisis, the MOPH established and is currently chairing with WHO and UNICEF the Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Task Force (MHPSS TF). This task force currently includes more than 60 organizations working on the Syrian crisis response in Lebanon with the aim of harmonizing and mainstreaming MHPSS in all sectors and improving access to care. An action plan for the MHPSS TF is set every year to address challenges faced in MHPSS work. A priority of the 2016 action plan is the development of a national inter-sectoral referral system linking all levels of care, with a main focus on mental health, protection and shelter.