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Ment Health Fam Med. 2009 December; 6(4): 187–189.
PMCID: PMC2873873

Primary care mental health: maintaining momentum

World Mental Health Day 2009 was focused on mental health integration into primary care. Wonca, WHO and other stakeholders collaborated to provide some of the evidence that supports primary care especially when managing mental health conditions. 1 This document examined the historical development of primary care from Alma Ata to date and concluded that there was a lot of good evidence supporting the utility of primary care management of mental health worldwide. Sadly we know that the good practice described is not replicated in every town, in every state, in every country. Very often the poorest members of our society, who are also the most disenfranchised and disadvantaged are the least likely to have access to good primary care and good mental health services. This cannot be right.

The journal Mental Health in Family Medicine continues to collaborate with a variety of stakeholders to bring together good evidence supporting primary care mental health from all over the world and we very much hope that these examples of good practice will be modified or adopted in many countries so that patients with mental health problems can truly benefit. Over 2009 the journal has covered many issues from many corners of the world and the articles and editorials include:

Volume 6 Number 1: World Mental Health Day Special Issue


Mental health in primary care gap: now is the time to act

G Ivbijaro, P Garrison and M Funk

Mental health specialty care in the medical home

B Starfield

‘The right to health’: a viewpoint

N Sartorius

Primary care and mental health: how can the world respond?

J Copeland


Detecting mental disorders in primary care

VK Sharma and JRM Copeland

Navigating the mental health and addictions maze: a community‐based pilot project of a new role in primary mental health care

JE Anderson and SC Larke

The Sooke Navigator Project: using community resources and research to improve local service for mental health and addictions

JE Anderson and SC Larke

Integrating mental health into primary care in Sverdlovsk

R Jenkins, Z Bobyleva, D Goldberg, L Gask, A Zacroeva, A Potasheva, V Krasnov and D McDaid

Integration of mental health into primary care in Uganda: opportunities and challenges.

FN Kigozi and J Ssebunnya

Integration of child mental health services to primary care: challenges and opportunities

V Eapen and R Jairam

Depression recovery from the primary care patients' perspective: ‘hear it in my voice and see it in my eyes’

C Johnson, J Gunn and R Kokanovic

Reports from the colleges


Wonca Europe: bursaries for Wonca World Conference, Cancun May 2010

Report: Wonca Working Party on Mental Health

G Ivbijaro

Volume 6 Number 2


Mental Health in Family Medicine comes of age

G Ivbijaro

The gap in treatment of serious mental disorder in the community: a public health problem

F Torres‐González


Managing depression in a changing primary mental healthcare system: comparison of two snapshots of Australian GPs' treatment and referral patterns

H McGarry, K Hegarty, C Johnson, J Gunn and G Blashki

Recession, debt and mental health: challenges and solutions

R Jenkins, C Fitch, M Hurlston and F Walker

The family physician and the psychologist in the office together: a response to fragmentation

L Solano, E Pirrotta, V Ingravalle and P Fayella

Mental ability performance among adults with type 2 diabetes in primary care

DL Mount and MC Lambert

Managing schizophrenia in primary care: the utility of remission criteria as outcome indicators

C Fear, D Yeomans, B Moore, M Taylor, K Ford, A Currie, J Hynes, G Sullivan, R Whale and T Burns

Reports from the colleges


Wonca Europe: bursaries for Wonca World Conference, Cancun May 2010

Report: Wonca Working Party on Mental Health

G Ivbijaro

Volume 6 Number 3


The rights of the child and primary care mental health

G Ivbijaro

Emotional distress: an alternative primary care perspective

J Mendive


Have Quality and Outcomes Framework Depression Indicators changed referrals from primary care to a dedicated memory clinic?

S Fearn and AJ Larner

Depression comorbidity among patients with tuberculosis in a university teaching hospital outpatient clinic in Nigeria

BA Issa, AD Yussuf and SI Kuranga

Balint groups as ‘shared care’ in the area of mental health in primary medicine

S Rabin, B Maoz, Y Shorer and A Matalon

Comparative, clinical feasibility study of three tools for delivery of cognitive behavioural therapy for mild to moderate depression and anxiety provided on a self‐help basis

S Pittaway, C Cupitt, D Palmer, N Arowobusoye, R Milne, S Holttum, R Pezet and H Patrick

Effects of an educational outreach campaign (IM‐PACT) on depression management delivered to general practitioners in one primary care trust

B Patel and S Afghan

A qualitative study on adolescence, health and family

S Parvizy and F Ahmadi

Reports from the colleges

mhGAP: Wonca's collaboration with the WHO and other stakeholders

G Ivbijaro

Volume 6 Number 4


Primary care mental health: maintaining momentum

G Ivbijaro

Overuse of antipsychotic medication in elderly people with dementia? A view from general practice

H van Marwijk and W Spiegel


Role of the husband's knowledge and behaviour in postnatal depression: a case study of an immigrant Pakistani woman

TM Khan, NHB Arif, H Tahir and M Anwar

Medication error in mental health: implications for primary care

ID Maidment and H Parmentier

Detection of dementia in primary care: comparison of the original and a modified Mini‐Cog Assessment with the Mini‐Mental State Examination

G Kamenski, T Dorner, K Lawrence, G Psota, A Rieder, F Schwarz, A Sepandj, W Spiegel and S Strotzka

Attitude toward depression, its complications, prevention and barriers to seeking help among ethnic groups in Penang, Malaysia

TM Khan, SA Sulaiman, MA Hassali and H Tahir

Reports from the colleges

Research in primary care mental health in Greece

S Argyriadou and C Lionis

Portuguese National Mental Health Plan (2007–2016): Executive Summary

There have been many initiatives and calls to action in primary care, especially around the annual World Mental Health Day on 10 October, but often they are not sustained. The 2009 Call to Action 2 called on individuals, organisations and governments to recognise that mental health is essential for achieving person‐centred holistic primary care in the following ways.

  • By demanding that mental health is an essential part of primary care and family medicine, and that mental health should be included in all primary care services.
  • By specifying that mental health is a key component of all primary care health services when these are commissioned and procured.
  • By empowering individuals and mental health service users though the adequate recognition and resourcing of self care and advocacy.
  • By recognising care in the least restrictive environment and the role of family and community support as the first principle of all mental health interventions and treatment.
  • By acknowledging that psychological, social and environmental interventions and resources are essential components of mental health for all, and access should be promoted for all.
  • By ensuring that mental health training is facilitated and made available to all who work within primary care.
  • By guaranteeing the availability of essential pharmacological therapy for those mental health service users who truly require it.
  • By demanding an end to mental health stigma and discrimination and monitoring and protecting the human rights of all people at all times.
  • By facilitating the provision and support of specialist services for those whose needs cannot be met in primary care alone.
  • By guaranteeing continuity of care for those with mental health difficulties, through primary care.

This call to action requires a practical response. Mental Health in Family Medicine is keen to disseminate the work you have done to pursue the goals of 2009 World Mental Health Day. We are very pleased that the World Federation for Mental Health continues to develop this important theme by proposing the World Mental Health Day 2010 will be about the relationship between mental health and physical illness and the importance of integration for achieving this. Once more, Mental Health in Family Medicine will dedicate it's Autumn 2010 issue to the theme adopted for World Mental Health Day. We are keen to receive articles for peer review from service users, governmental organisations, NGO's and researchers for this special issue (see link below):


1. World Health Organization (WHO) and World Organization of Family Doctors (Wonca) Integrating Mental Health into Primary Care: A Global Perspective Geneva: WHO, 2008
2. World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH) World Mental Health Day 10 October 2009. Mental Health in Primary Care: Enhancing Treatment and Promoting Mental Health. (accessed 28/2/10)

Articles from Mental Health in Family Medicine are provided here courtesy of Radcliffe Publishing and Wonca