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Int J Ment Health Syst. 2009 Jan 22;3(1):2. doi: 10.1186/1752-4458-3-2.

International observatory on mental health systems: a mental health research and development network.

Author information

  • Centre for International Mental Health, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia. h.minas@unimelb.edu.au



While the mental health situation for most people in low and middle-income countries is unsatisfactory, there is a renewed commitment to focus attention on the mental health of populations and on the scaling up of mental health services that have the capacity to respond to mental health service needs. There is general agreement that scaling up activities must be evidence-based and that the effectiveness of such activities must be evaluated. If these requirements are to be realised it will be essential to strengthen capacity in countries to conduct rigorous monitoring and evaluation of system development projects and to demonstrate sustained benefit to populations.


The International Observatory on Mental Health Systems (IOMHS) will build capacity to measure and to track mental health system performance in participating countries at national and sub-national (provincial and district) levels. The work of IOMHS will depend on the establishment of robust partnerships among the key stakeholder groups. The Observatory will build the capability of partner organisations and networks to provide evidence-based advice to policy makers, service planners and implementers, and will monitor the progress of mental health service scaling up activities.


The International Observatory on Mental Health Systems will be a mental health research and development network that will monitor and evaluate mental health system performance in low and middle-income countries.

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