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Glob Health Action. 2014 Jun 13;7:24589. doi: 10.3402/gha.v7.24589. eCollection 2014.

Declaration on mental health in Africa: moving to implementation.

Author information

  • 1Dalla Lana School of Public Health and Department of Surgery, University of Toronto and Grand Challenges Canada, Toronto, Canada; a.daar@utoronto.ca.
  • 2Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa.
  • 3Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden.
  • 4Strategic Initiatives, Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study, Stellenbosch, South Africa.
  • 5CBM International, West Africa Regional Office, Lomé, Togo.
  • 6Centre for Global Mental Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK; Sangath Centre, Provorim, Goa, India.
  • 7Mental Health Department, Center for Applied Psychology and Psychometric Tests, Ministry of Health, Mozambique.
  • 8Department of Psychology, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa.
  • 9Gender & Health Research Unit, South African Medical Research Council, Pretoria, South Africa; Department of Psychiatry & Mental Health, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa.
  • 10Awareness, Advocacy & Communications Officer, Central Gauteng Mental Health Society, Johannesburg, South Africa.
  • 11Office of the Director General, National Department of Health, Pretoria, South Africa.
  • 12Cape Mental Health, Observatory, South Africa.
  • 13Department of Psychiatry, University of Nairobi, Nairobi, Kenya; Africa Mental Health Foundation, Montreal, Canada.


Urgent action is needed to address mental health issues globally. In Africa, where mental health disorders account for a huge burden of disease and disability, and where in general less than 1% of the already small health budgets are spent on these disorders, the need for action is acute and urgent. Members of the World Health Organization, including African countries, have adopted a Comprehensive Mental Health Action Plan. Africa now has an historic opportunity to improve the mental health and wellbeing of its citizens, beginning with provision of basic mental health services and development of national mental health strategic plans (roadmaps). There is need to integrate mental health into primary health care and address stigma and violations of human rights. We advocate for inclusion of mental health into the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals, and for the convening of a special UN General Assembly High Level Meeting on Mental Health within three years.


Africa; UN General Assembly; WHO action plan; basic services; human rights; implementation; mental health; policy; post-2015 Agenda; roadmap; stigma

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