To address the rise in mental health disorders, substance use disorders, and suicide rates in Tunisia, mental health training programs targeting primary care physicians are a political priority. While these programs have been offered in the past, training implementation was previously conducted non-systematically. In addition, these training programs were general and thematic lectures about mental health and illness, with limited interactive components and mental health resources for trainees.
An mhGAP-based training (version 1.0)7 was implemented between February and April 2016 in the Greater Tunis area of Tunisia. The training’s goal was to improve primary care physicians’ mental health knowledge, attitudes, self-efficacy, and self-reported practice. The training included modules on general principles of care, depression, psychosis, self-harm/suicide, and alcohol/drug use disorders, adapted to the local primary care context using the mhGAP’s Adaptation Guide. Training sessions were facilitated by Tunisian psychiatrists and supported by primary care physicians working to promote continuing mental health training in the Greater Tunis area (i.e., tutors). In total, the training program last 6-weeks (19 hours). Training sessions, offered once a week for 5 weeks (17 hours), included general lectures, role plays, and group discussions. These were followed by a support session (2 hours) where trainer-psychiatrists facilitated clinical case discussions and role plays. We evaluated the program’s impact on primary care physicians’ mental health knowledge, attitudes, self-efficacy, and self-reported practice, immediately following and 18 months after training.