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Psychiatr Serv. 2011 Feb;62(2):123-5. doi: 10.1176/

Mental health services in 42 low- and middle-income countries: a WHO-AIMS cross-national analysis.

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  • 1Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, World Health Organization (WHO), Geneva.



The authors describe characteristics and capacities of mental health systems in low- and middle-income countries.


The World Health Organization Assessment Instrument for Mental Health Systems was used to assess services in 42 countries (13 low-, 24 lower-middle, and five upper-middle income).


Of 36 countries with a mental health plan, 90% include the goal of developing community services. However, inpatient facilities are the main service providers, with less than one community contact (.70) for each inpatient day. Mental hospitals consume 80% of mental health budgets, and outpatient care is limited.


Mental health services in participating countries are limited and often hospital based.

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