Developing countries in Africa and other regions share a similar profile of insufficient human resources, poor funding, high unmet need for services and low official prioritization of mental health. This situation is worsened by misconceptions about the causes of mental disorders, stigma and discrimination that frequently result in harmful practices against persons with mental illness. Previous explorations of the required response to these challenges have identified the need for strong leadership and consistent advocacy as potential drivers of the desired change.
The Mental Health Leadership and Advocacy Programme (mhLAP) aims to provide and enhance the acquisition of skills in mental health leadership, service development, advocacy and policy planning and to build partnerships for action to scale up quality mental health service. The specific components of the program includes:
- An annual two-week leadership course that is based on current best evidence in the field of public mental health and is designed for the African context.
- Formation of Stakeholders Councils in all the participating countries.
- Training of trainers in the use of mhGAP-Intervention Guide to scale up mental health service through integration into primary care;
- Improvement in mental health service delivery through the use of WHO Quality Rights Tool; and
- Implementation of anti-stigma strategies to be developed in the course of the program