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Australas Psychiatry. 2010 Feb;18(1):57-62. doi: 10.3109/10398560903274381.

The ongoing development of community mental health services in Japan: utilizing strengths and opportunities.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of Melbourne and St Vincent's Mental Health, Melbourne, VIC, Australia.



The aim of this study was to identify opportunities for the development of best practice community mental health care models in Japan using key information extracted from the Asia-Pacific Community Mental Health Development Project, site visits conducted on community mental health models, and discussion on service delivery with mental health leaders in government, clinical services and community.


In terms of hospital-based care, Japan has the highest number of psychiatric beds and highest ratio of beds per capita in the world. Strategies to address the disproportionate balance of mental health service components are clearly needed. While progress and initiatives in community-based mental health services are promising, there are significant challenges facing the mental health system in Japan. There is a need to expand the scope, quantity and distribution of best practice community mental health services in Japan. The available funding and human resource could be further directed to effective and culturally appropriate community-based services. Increased leadership capacity and confidence in the mental health workforce at all levels should be addressed effectively.

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