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West Indian Med J. 2012 Aug;61(5):475-82.

Mental health policy and service system development in the English-speaking Caribbean.

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  • 1Department of Community Health and Psychiatry, The University of the West Indies, Kingston 7, Jamaica.


The countries and territories comprising the English-speaking Caribbean (ESC) have made some strides in the development of mental health policy, services and systems with the expenditure in mental health as a percentage of health budgets ranging from 1% to 7%. The ESC countries have well developed primary healthcare systems. However mental health legislations in many countries are in need of reform. Some countries have developed an innovative community based, secondary care treatment model: treatment in the medical wards of general hospitals. These countries have made progress in integrating mental health into primary healthcare and have made psychotropic medication widely available at the primary care level. Notwithstanding the progress in some countries, greater effort is required in phasing out mental hospitals and integrating mental health into primary care in other ESC countries.

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