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Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide

Depression can also be a cause of suicide. Depression is the theme of the WHO's World Health Day in 2017, and its treatment coverage is an indicator to monitor implementation of the WHO's Comprehensive Mental Health Action Plan (2013- 2020).

The objective of WHO’s mental health Gap Action Programme (mhGAP) is scaling up services for mental, neurological and substance use disorders, especially in low- and middle-income countries. mhGAP focuses on a limited number of conditions, one of which is depression.

Interpersonal Psychotherapy for depression 

Interpersonal Psychotherapy was developed in the 1970's by Dr Gerald L Klerman and Dr Myrna M Weissman for the treatment of depression. It has since been adapted for different disorders and age groups, as well as for use in diverse medical and community settings worldwide. Its effectiveness has been demonstrated in numerous clinical trials in high, middle and low-income countries, using both an individual and a group approach. 

This manual has modified IPT for depression for use in 8 session groups, and involves a simplified format for facilitators who may not have had previous mental health specific training. The mhGAP Intervention Guide includes both pharmacological and non-pharmacological first-line treatment options for depression, including IPT. IPT may be provided at health-care centres by supervised non-specialized staff with time to deliver the intervention or if unavailable, non-specialized health-care providers may refer for IPT delivered in community settings, within social services or through specialized mental health care.

Image credit: World Health Organization 

Prevention and promotion
Treatment, care and rehabilitation
Training, education and capacity building
Depression/anxiety/stress-related disorders
Primary care
Specialist care
Maternal and neonatal health
Children and adolescents
Older adults
Families and carers
Minority populations
Humanitarian and conflict health
Non-communicable diseases (e.g. cancer, diabetes, stroke)
Communicable diseases (e.g. HIV/AIDS, TB)
Middle East
North America
Central America and the Caribbean
South America
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Also available in

  • This resource is also available for download in Step 2 'Build Capacity of General Healthcare Workers' of International Medical Corps’ “Mental Health Integration Toolkit”. The Toolkit aims to increase the understanding of integrated mental health programs in humanitarian settings, and provides valuable guidance for better resource allocation and implementation of the steps and components of Mental Health Integration.

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