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Int Rev Psychiatry. 2004 Feb-May;16(1-2):18-23.

The mental health policy template: domains and elements for mental health policy formulation.

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Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research, Wacol, Queensland, Australia.


Mental disorders are a major and rising cause of disease burden in all countries. Even when resources are available, many countries do not have the policy and planning frameworks in place to identify and deliver effective interventions. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Bank have emphasized the need for ready access to the basic tools for mental health policy formulation, implementation and sustained development. The Analytical Studies on Mental Health Policy and Service Project, undertaken in 1999-2001 by the International Consortium for Mental Health Services and funded by the Global Forum for Health Research aims to address this need through the development of a template for mental health policy formulation. A mental health policy template has been developed based on an inventory of the key elements of a successful mental health policy. These elements have been validated against a review of international literature, a study of existing mental health policies and the results of extensive consultations with experts in the six WHO regions of the world. The Mental Health Policy Template has been revised and its applicability will be tested in a number of developing countries during 2001-2002. The Mental Health Policy Template and the work of the Consortium for Mental Health Services will be presented and the future role of the template in mental health policy development and reform in developing countries will be discussed.

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