In the last decade, there has been an increase in interest in the burden of chronic and disabling health conditions that are not necessarily fatal, such as the mental disorders. This review systematically summarizes data on the burden associated with 11 major mental disorders of adults. The measures of burden include estimates of prevalence, mortality associated with the disorders, disabilities and impairments related to the disorders, and costs. This review expands the range of mental disorders considered in a report on the global burden of disease, updates the literature, presents information on the range and depth of sources of information on burden, and adds estimates of costs. The purpose is to provide an accessible guide to the burden of mental disorders, especially for researchers and policy makers who may not be familiar with this subfield of epidemiology.
cost of illness; mental disorders; mental health; mortality; prevalence; review
Medicalisation is the misclassification of non-medical problems as medical problems. A common form of medicalisation is the misclassification of normal distress as a mental disorder (usually a mood disorder). Suicide is medicalised when it is considered a medical diagnosis per se, when it is considered to be secondary to a mental disorder when no mental disorder is present, and when no mental disorder is present but the management of suicidal behaviour associated with distress is believed to be the sole responsibility of mental health professionals. In the West, psychological autopsies have led to the belief that all or almost all suicide is the result of mental disorder. However, there are reservations about the scientific status of such studies. The actions of psychological autopsy researchers, coroners/magistrates, police, policy writers, and grieving relatives all contribute. Medicalisation of suicide has the potential to distort research findings, and caution is recommended.
depression; mental health; prevention; suicide; terminology; Western world
Surveys of the public in a number of countries have shown poor recognition of mental disorders and beliefs about treatment that often diverge from those of health professionals. This lack of mental health literacy can limit the optimal use of treatment services. Australia and Japan are countries with very different mental health care systems, with Japan emphasising hospital care and Australia more oriented to community care. Japan is also more collectivist and Australia more individualist in values. These differences might influence recognition of disorders and beliefs about treatment in the two countries.
Surveys of the public were carried out in each country using as similar a methodology as feasible. In both countries, household interviews were carried out concerning beliefs in relation to one of four case vignettes, describing either depression, depression with suicidal thoughts, early schizophrenia or chronic schizophrenia. In Australia, the survey involved a national sample of 3998 adults aged 18 years or over. In Japan, the survey involved 2000 adults aged between 20 and 69 from 25 regional sites spread across the country.
The Japanese public were found to be more reluctant to use psychiatric labels, particularly for the depression cases. The Japanese were also more reluctant to discuss mental disorders with others outside the family. They had a strong belief in counsellors, but not in GPs. They generally believe in the benefits of treatment, but are not optimistic about full recovery. By contrast, Australians used psychiatric labels more often, particularly "depression". They were also more positive about the benefits of seeking professional help, but had a strong preference for lifestyle interventions and tended to be negative about some psychiatric medications. Australians were positive about both counsellors and GPs. Psychiatric hospitalization and ECT were seen negatively in both countries.
There are some major differences between Australia and Japan in recognition of disorders and beliefs about treatment. Some of these may relate to the different health care systems, but the increasing openness about mental health in Australia is also likely to be an explanatory factor.
The goal of this study was to identify mental, behavioral, and cognitive disorders that may be triggered or exacerbated during heat waves, predisposing individuals to heat-related morbidity and mortality.
Using health outcome data from Adelaide, South Australia, for 1993–2006, we estimated the effect of heat waves on hospital admissions and mortalities attributed to mental, behavioral, and cognitive disorders. We analyzed data using Poisson regression accounting for overdispersion and controlling for season and long-term trend, and we performed threshold analysis using hockey stick regression.
Above a threshold of 26.7°C, we observed a positive association between ambient temperature and hospital admissions for mental and behavioral disorders. Compared with non–heat-wave periods, hospital admissions increased by 7.3% during heat waves. Specific illnesses for which admissions increased included organic illnesses, including symptomatic mental disorders; dementia; mood (affective) disorders; neurotic, stress related, and somatoform disorders; disorders of psychological development; and senility. Mortalities attributed to mental and behavioral disorders increased during heat waves in the 65- to 74-year age group and in persons with schizophrenia, schizotypal, and delusional disorders. Dementia deaths increased in those up to 65 years of age.
Our results suggest that episodes of extreme heat pose a salient risk to the health and well-being of the mentally ill.
Relevance to Clinical or Professional Practice: Improvements in the management and care of the mentally ill need to be addressed to avoid an increase in psychiatric morbidity and mortality as heat waves become more frequent.
dementia; heat waves; mental health; psychiatric; schizophrenia; temperature; weather
This paper seeks to account for the development of a public health education policy with respect to venereal disease during the period 1916-1926. Two competing pressure groups, the National Council for Combatting Venereal Disease and the Society for the Prevention of Venereal Disease, defended opposing programmes; the one based on moral education (NCCVD) and the other (SPVD) on medical prophylaxis. Many of the interests represented by the groups and the political dimensions that they took, were influenced by factors only very tangentially connected to health education.
Any account of the development of policy in this field needs placing in the context of the early history of nineteenth-century anti-vice crusades; the role of the Army Medical Corps during the 1914-18 war; and the bureaucratic protectionism of the Ministry of Health personnel.
Managing mental health problems of people around the world is a major challenge for health workers as well as for policy makers. It is a particular problem for low- and middle-income countries for many reasons, especially due to lack of recourses.
A computer-assisted interview, the GMHAT/PC (Global Mental Health Assessment Tool – Primary Care) has been developed to assist general practitioners and other health professionals to make a quick, convenient, and comprehensive, standardised mental health assessment. It has proved to be a reliable and valid tool in various studies. Its use by other health professionals may help in detecting and managing mental disorders in primary care and general health settings more effectively. The article outlines the development and potential use of the GMHAT/PC
diagnosis; computer-assisted; GMHAT; mental disorders; mental health services; psychiatric diagnosis
The Mental Health Country Profile is a tool that was generated by the International Mental Health Policy and Services Project to inform policy makers, professionals and other key stakeholders about important issues which need to be considered in mental health policy development. The Mental Health Country Profile contains four domains, which include the mental health context, resources, provision and outcomes. We have aimed to generate a Mental Health Country Profile for Vietnam, in order to highlight the strengths and weaknesses of the Vietnamese mental health situation, in order to inform future reform efforts and decision-making.
This study used snowball sampling to identify informants for generating a Mental Health Country Profile for Vietnam, and the data gathering was done through semi-structured interviews and collection of relevant reports and documents. The material from the interviews and documents was analysed according to qualitative content analysis.
Marked strengths of the Vietnam mental health system are the aims to move toward community management and detection of mental illness, and the active involvement of several multilateral organizations and NGOs. However, there are a number of shortages still found, including the lack of treatment interventions apart from medications, the high proportion of treatments to be paid out-of-pocket, prominence of large tertiary psychiatric hospitals, and a lack of preventative measures or mental health information to the public.
At the end of this decade, mental health care in Vietnam is still characterised by unclear policy and poor critical mass especially within the governmental sector. This initial attempt to map the mental health situation of Vietnam suffers from a number of limitations and should be seen as a first step towards a comprehensive profile.
One of the most crucial steps towards delivering judicious and comprehensive mental health care is the formulation of a policy and plan that will navigate mental health systems. For policy-makers, the challenges of a high-quality mental health system are considerable: the provision of mental health services to all who need them, in an equitable way, in a mode that promotes human rights and health outcomes.
EquiFrame, a novel policy analysis framework, was used to evaluate the mental health policies of Malawi, Namibia, and Sudan. The health policies were assessed in terms of their coverage of 21 predefined Core Concepts of human rights (Core Concept Coverage), their stated quality of commitment to said Core Concepts (Core Concept Quality), and their inclusion of 12 Vulnerable Groups (Vulnerable Group Coverage). In relation to these summary indices, each policy was also assigned an Overall Summary Ranking, in terms of it being of High, Moderate, or Low quality.
Substantial variability was identified across EquiFrame’s summary indices for the mental health policies of Malawi, Namibia, and Sudan. However, all three mental health policies scored high on Core Concept Coverage. Particularly noteworthy was the Sudanese policy, which scored 86% on Core Concept Coverage, and 92% on Vulnerable Group Coverage. Particular deficits were evident in the Malawian mental health policy, which scored 33% on Vulnerable Group Coverage and 47% on Core Concept Quality, and was assigned an Overall Summary Ranking of Low accordingly. The Overall Summary Ranking for the Namibian Mental Health Policy was High; for the Sudanese Mental Health Policy was Moderate; and for the Malawian Mental Health Policy was Low.
If human rights and equity underpin policy formation, it is more likely that they will be inculcated in health service delivery. EquiFrame may provide a novel and valuable tool for mental health policy analysis in relation to core concepts of human rights and inclusion of vulnerable groups, a key practical step in the successful realization of the Millennium Development Goals.
Mental health policy; Core concepts of human rights; Vulnerable groups; Malawi; Namibia; Sudan
Aggression, antisocial and delinquent behavior frequently result in the incarceration of a large number of young people, but these problems pale in comparison to the mental health challenges faced by many of these youth. Recent studies show a high prevalence of mental disorders among adolescents within the justice system. These findings have led researchers, clinicians and policy-makers to re-evaluate the assessment and treatment options that are available for youth within correctional facilities. This article provides a concise review of the most recent research related to mental health disorders among incarcerated juveniles within Canada and the United States. Rates of some of the most common mental health disorders among juveniles, including depression, anxiety, attention deficit hyperactivity and substance use are summarized. Throughout the review, issues related to co-morbidity and gender differences are highlighted. The implications of mental health disorders for juvenile justice policy and practice are discussed.
mental disorder; juvenile offenders; incarceration; psychiatric comorbidity; maladie mentale; jeunes contrevenants; emprisonnement; comorbidité psychiatrique
As governments grapple with meeting expectations of citizens and including their voices in policy making, greater understanding of how context influences involvement can help identify ways to involve those citizens who face substantial barriers to inclusion in policy development. This qualitative, instrumental case study focused on the involvement of people who use and need mental health and housing services in policy development in Manitoba. Data were collected from 21 key informants purposively selected from four policy actor groups as well as from relevant documents. Data were analyzed using inductive qualitative methods. Results identified five themes related to contextual influences on involvement: (a) the social environment, (b) institutional characteristics, (c) participant characteristics, (d) opportunities for involvement and (e) ideas and formal policy structures. The findings suggest that policy makers should look to contextual factors to identify ways to reduce the barriers to the inclusion of people with mental health and housing needs in health policy making.
Australia’s Early Parenting Services support families and intervene early in mental health problems in parents. The Victorian Early Parenting Strategy, a platform for government policy recommended a stronger evidence base for early parenting services. Tweddle Child and Family Health Service (TCFHS) is a not-for-profit public sector early parenting centre, which provides residential, day stay, home visiting and outreach programs. This study aimed i) to examine the health, social circumstances and presenting needs of clients attending the Tweddle Day Stay Program (DSP) with infants under 12 months old and ii) to assess the parent mental health and infant behaviour outcomes and the factors associated with program success.
A cohort of clients was recruited prior to admission and followed-up 8 weeks after discharge. Data were collected using standardised measures in a study specific questionnaire at baseline, participant’s Tweddle records and a follow-up telephone interview. Health, social circumstances and presenting needs of clients were described. Changes in parents’ symptoms of depression and infants’ sleep and settling between admission and follow-up were calculated. Multiple regression analyses were conducted to examine factors associated with changes in primary outcomes.
Of the total 162 clients who were eligible and invited to participate, 115 (72%) were recruited. Parents admitted to the DSP had worse general self-reported physical and mental health than community samples. Infants of DSP participants were no more likely to be premature or have low birth weight, but significantly more unsettled than other community samples. Participants’ mental health and their infants’ behaviours were significantly improved after DSP admission. In multivariate analysis, higher depression score at baseline and greater educational attainment were significantly associated with improvements in parents’ mental health. Worse unsettled infant behaviours and longer time between discharge and follow up were significantly associated with improvements in infant sleep and settling.
Tweddle DSPs appear to respond effectively to the needs of families presenting with substantial physical and emotional health morbidity and a range of vulnerabilities by treating parental mental health and infant behaviour problems together. DSPs offer important potential benefits for prevention of more serious family problems and consequent health care cost savings.
Parenting; Infants; Mental health; Health services
Stress-related mental disorders (SRMD), which correspond to the diagnostic code F43 in the International Classification of Diseases, version 10, rank among the leading causes of sickness absence in several European countries. Despite the size of this health problem, research on risk factors for severe medical outcomes, like suicidal behavior, is lacking to date. The aim of this study was to investigate predictors of suicide attempt and suicide among sickness absentees with SRMD.
A cohort of 36,304 non-retired individuals, aged 16–64 years on 31.12.2004, with at least one sickness absence spell due to SRMD, initiated in 2005, was followed up with regard to suicide attempt (2006–2009) and suicide (2006–2008). Univariate and multivariate hazard ratios (HR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) were estimated for a number of predictors.
During the follow-up period, 266 individuals attempted suicide and 34 committed suicide. In the multivariate analyses, the following factors increased the risk of suicide attempt: =< 25 years of age, low educational level, lone parenthood, > 1 sickness absence spell, long duration of the first spell of sickness absence due to SRMD (> 180 days), > 4 and > 8 days of inpatient care due to somatic or mental diagnoses (2000–2005), and > 4 and > 1 outpatient visits due to somatic or mental diagnoses (2001–2005), respectively. Hazard ratios ranged from 1.4 to 4.2. Health care due to mental diagnoses and > 1 spell of sickness absence regardless of diagnosis were predictive of suicide.
Several predictors related to socio-demographics, sickness absence and health-care consumption were identified as risk factors for suicidal behavior. Consideration of these risk factors is of both clinical and public health importance.
Suicide attempt; Suicide; Stress-related mental disorders; Sickness absence
Prior authorization policies are commonly used by Medicaid programs to control psychotropic drug expenditures. This study examined the association of a prior-authorization policy for atypical antipsychotic and anticonvulsant agents with medication discontinuation and use of health services among patients with bipolar disorder.
A pre-post-with-historical-comparison-group design was used to analyze Maine Medicaid and Medicare claims data. Newly treated patients were identified during the policy (Jul 2003–Feb 2004; N=946) and a comparison group from the pre-policy period (Jul 2002–Feb 2003; N=1,014). Patients were stratified according to their pre-initiation visits to community mental health centers (CMHCs) that target those with the most serious mental illness: CMHC-attenders (at least 2 visits) and non-attenders (fewer than 2 visits). Changes in rates of medication discontinuation, outpatient, emergency room and hospital visits before and after drug initiation were estimated.
CMHC-attenders had substantially higher rates of comorbidity and use of medications and health services than non-attenders. The policy was associated with increased medication discontinuation in both groups; reductions in psychiatric visits after discontinuing medication among CMHC-attenders (−64/100 patients/month; p<.05); and increases in emergency room visits after discontinuing medication among non-attenders (16/100 patients/month; p<.05). During the 8-month follow-up, the policy had no detectable impact on risk of hospitalization.
The Maine prior-authorization policy was associated with increased medication discontinuation and subsequent changes in use of health services. Though small, these unintended policy effects raise quality of care concerns for a group of very vulnerable patients. Long-term consequences of prior-authorization policies on patient outcomes warrant further investigation.
prior authorization; bipolar disorder; policy evaluation; Medicaid; health services research
Policy analysis is often retrospective and not well suited to helping policy makers decide what to do; in contrast prospective policy analysis seeks to assist in formulating responses to challenging public policy questions. Suicide in Sri Lanka is a major public health problem, with ingestion of pesticides being the primary method. Previous policy interventions have been associated with reduced mortality through restricting access to the most toxic pesticides. Additional means of reducing access are still needed.
The prospective policy analysis comprised two stages. The first used a consensus activity within a well defined policy community to generate and frame policy options. The second broadened the analysis to include other stakeholders. We report the consensus activity with seven actors from agriculture, health, and academia. Policy options were identified through two rounds of discussion along with ratings by each participant on their degree of support for each option. Data were analysed quantitatively and discussions analysed with Nvivo 8 to code prominent and recurrent themes.
The main finding was the strong support and consensus for two proposals: further regulation of pesticides and the novel idea of repackaging pesticides into non-lethal doses. Participants identified several factors that were supportive of future policy change including a strong legislative framework, good links between agriculture, health and academia, and a collaborative relationship with industry. Identified barriers and potential threats to policy change included political interference, difficulties of intersectoral collaboration, acceptability of options to the community, difficulty of implementation in rural communities and the challenge of reducing mortality.
The development and consideration of policy options within this epistemic community reflected an appreciation and understanding of many of the factors that can facilitate or thwart policy change. The understanding of context, evidence and ideas, implementation and impact influenced how the participants considered and rated the options. Use of epistemic community actors identified the level of support for each option, helped elaborate the particularities of context, as well as the power and influence of ideas. Further examination of the potential barriers and opportunities for these options will determine if broader consensus, involving a wider range of stakeholders, can be achieved and policy change promoted.
Immigration status is a likely deterrent of mental health care utilization in the United States. Using the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey and National Health Interview survey from 2002 to 2006, multivariable logistic regressions were used to estimate the effects of immigration status on mental health care utilization among patients with depression or anxiety disorders. Multivariate regressions showed that immigrants were significantly less likely to take any prescription drugs, but not significantly less likely to have any physician visits compared to US-born citizens. Results also showed that improving immigrants’ health care access and health insurance coverage could potentially reduce disparities between US-born citizens and immigrants by 14–29% and 9–28% respectively. Policy makers should focus on expanding the availability of regular sources of health care and immigrant health coverage to reduce disparities on mental health care utilization. Targeted interventions should also focus on addressing immigrants’ language barriers, and providing culturally appropriate services.
Immigrant; Mental health; Utilizations; Depression; Anxiety
Smoking has been associated with a range of mental disorders including schizophrenia, anxiety disorders and depression. People with mental illness have high rates of morbidity and mortality from smoking related illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, respiratory diseases and cancer. As many people who meet diagnostic criteria for mental disorders do not seek treatment for these conditions, we sought to investigate the relationship between mental illness and smoking in recent population-wide surveys.
Survey data from the US National Comorbidity Survey-Replication conducted in 2001–2003, the 2007 Australian Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing, and the 2007 US National Health Interview Survey were used to investigate the relationship between current smoking, ICD-10 mental disorders and non-specific psychological distress. Population weighted estimates of smoking rates by disorder, and mental disorder rates by smoking status were calculated.
In both the US and Australia, adults who met ICD-10 criteria for mental disorders in the 12 months prior to the survey smoked at almost twice the rate of adults without mental disorders. While approximately 20% of the adult population had 12-month mental disorders, among adult smokers approximately one-third had a 12-month mental disorder – 31.7% in the US (95% CI: 29.5%–33.8%) and 32.4% in Australia (95% CI: 29.5%–35.3%). Female smokers had higher rates of mental disorders than male smokers, and younger smokers had considerably higher rates than older smokers. The majority of mentally ill smokers were not in contact with mental health services, but their rate of smoking was not different from that of mentally ill smokers who had accessed services for their mental health problem. Smokers with high levels of psychological distress smoked a higher average number of cigarettes per day.
Mental illness is associated with both higher rates of smoking and higher levels of smoking among smokers. Further, a significant proportion of smokers have mental illness. Strategies that address smoking in mental illness, and mental illness among smokers would seem to be important directions for tobacco control. As the majority of smokers with mental illness are not in contact with mental health services for their condition, strategies to address mental illness should be included as part of population health-based mental health and tobacco control efforts.
Investigating mortality in those with mental disorder is one way of measuring effects of mental health care reorganisation. This study's aim was to investigate whether the excess mortality in those with severe mental disorder remains high in Sweden after the initiation of the Community Mental Health Care Reform. We analysed excess mortality by gender, type of mental health service and psychiatric diagnosis in a large community-based cohort with long-term mental disorder.
A survey was conducted in Stockholm County, Sweden in 1997 to identify adults with long-term disabling mental disorder (mental retardation and dementia excluded). The 12 103 cases were linked to the Hospital Discharge Register and the Cause of Death Register. Standardised mortality ratios (SMRs) for 1998–2000 were calculated for all causes of death, in the entire cohort and in subgroups based on treatment setting and diagnosis.
Mortality was increased in both genders, for natural and external causes and in all diagnostic subgroups. Excess mortality was greater among those with a history of psychiatric inpatient care, especially in those with substance use disorder. For the entire cohort, the number of excess deaths due to natural causes was threefold that due to external causes. SMRs in those in contact with psychiatric services where strikingly similar to those in contact with social services.
Mortality remains high in those with long-term mental disorder in Sweden, regardless of treatment setting. Treatment programs for persons with long-term mental disorder should target physical as well as mental health.
Although mental disorders are a major public health problem, the development of mental health services has been a low priority everywhere, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. Recent years have seen a growing understanding of the importance of population mental health and increased attention to the need to developmental health systems for responding to population mental health service needs. In countries and regions where mental health services are all but nonexistent, and in postconflict and postdisaster settings, there are many impediments to establishing or scaling up mental health services. It is frequently necessary to act simultaneously on multiple fronts: generating local evidence that will inform decision makers; developing a policy framework; securing investment; determining the most appropriate service model for the context; training and supporting mental health workers; establishing or expanding existing services; putting in place systems for monitoring and evaluation; and strengthening leadership and governance capabilities. This article presents the approach of the Centre for International Mental Health in the Melbourne School of Population Health to mental health system development, and illustrates the way in which the elements of the program are integrated by giving a brief case example from Sri Lanka. (harv rev psychiatry 2012;20:37–46.)
development; leadership; mental health systems; scaling up
Suicide is a crisis of unknown proportions in much of the developing world. The majority of research into suicide has been done in high-resource countries such as Australia, and most intervention protocols have been drawn up using Western models. There appear to be a number of differences in the aetiology, presentation and treatment options for mental health problems between high-resource and low-resource countries. This review compares suicide in a high-resource country, Australia, and low-resource country, Nepal.
Many low-resource countries such as Nepal struggle to address barriers to mental health care due to limited mental health resources and issues such as stigma, workforce and mental health literacy. Issues relating to suicide prevention are raised, contrasting a low-resource country, Nepal, with a high-resource country, Australia.
developing countries; Nepal; suicide
There is relatively little data on the relationship between lifetime mental disorders and suicidal behaviour in low and middle income countries. This study examines the relationship between lifetime mental disorders, and subsequent suicide ideation, plans, and suicide attempts in South Africa.
A national survey of 4185 South African adults was conducted using the World Health Organization Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI) to generate psychiatric diagnoses and suicidal behaviour. Bivariate, multivariate and discrete-time survival analyses were employed to investigate the associations between mental disorders and subsequent suicide ideation, plans, and attempts.
Sixty-one percent of people who seriously considered killing themselves at some point in their lifetime reported having a prior DSM-IV disorder. Mental disorders predict the onset of suicidal ideation, but have weaker effects in predicting suicide plans or attempts. After controlling for comorbid mental disorders, PTSD was the strongest predictor of suicidal ideation and attempts. There is a relationship between number of mental disorders and suicidal behaviour, with comorbidity having significantly sub-additive effects.
Consistent with data from the developed world, mental disorders are strong predictors of suicidal behaviour, and these associations are more often explained by the prediction of ideation, rather than the prediction of attempts amongst ideators. This suggests some universality of the relevant mechanisms underlying the genesis of suicidal thoughts, and the progression to suicide attempts.
Suicide; Survey; South Africa; Mental Disorders
International studies suggest that cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) for the treatment of mental disorders results in improved clinical and economic outcomes. In Canada, however, publicly funded CBT is scarce, representing an inequity in service delivery. A research framework to evaluate the Canadian health economic impact of increasing access to CBT is proposed. Canadian data related to the epidemiology of mental disorders, patterns of usual care, CBT effectiveness, resource allocation and costs of care will be required and methodologies should be transparent and outcomes meaningful to Canadian decision-makers. Findings should be delivered by multidisciplinary teams of researchers and health professionals. Barriers to funding reform must be identified and knowledge translation strategies delineated and implemented. Canadian clinical and economic outcomes data are essential for those seeking to provide decision-makers with the evidence they need to evaluate whether CBT represents value for mental health dollars spent.
The paper makes the case for a new mental health act for India in view of the deficiencies of the current act. It argues that any new
mental health act must be grounded in sound ethical principles, value basic human rights, provide powers to those who treat mental
disorders and reflect the values and trends of the modern world. It favours a quasi-legal system with opportunities for independent
scrutiny, allows treatment consistent with ethical and legal principles, one that makes way for a more transparent and accountable
system. Such a system, the paper asserts, will be legally, ethically and clinically relevant, responsive, accessible and available at the
time of need and therefore user-friendly. It recommends the linkage of the act with existing mental health policies of the government,
thereby making the act powerful and interwoven in the tapestry of health care delivery initiatives of the government.
Suicide in mentally ill subjects, like schizophrenics, remains unbearably frequent in Australia and elsewhere. Since these patients are known to constitute a high-risk group, suicide in them should be amongst the most preventable ones. The objective of this study is to investigate the frequency of suicide communication in subjects with reported history of schizophrenia who completed suicide.
The Queensland Suicide Register (QSR) was utilised to identify suicide cases. Frequency of suicide communication was examined in subjects with schizophrenia, and compared with persons with other psychiatric conditions and with subjects with no reported diagnosis. Socio-demographic variables, history of suicidal behaviour, pharmacological treatment and mental health service utilisation were also compared among the three groups.
Results and discussion
Subjects with a reported diagnosis of schizophrenia comprised 7.2% (n = 135) of the 1,863 suicides included in this study. Subjects with schizophrenia and those with other psychiatric disorders communicated their suicide intent more frequently than those with no psychiatric diagnosis, and persons with schizophrenia communicated their intent more than those with other psychiatric diagnoses. Seventy one per cent of schizophrenia subjects had contact with a mental health professional within the three months prior to suicide.
The fact that subjects with schizophrenia had the highest prevalence of suicide intent communication could offer concrete opportunities for suicide prevention.
This paper has been corrected post-publication in deviation from print and in accordance with a correction printed in the February 2012 issue of the Journal.
Depressive and anxiety disorders (common mental disorders) are the most common psychiatric condition encountered in primary healthcare.
To test the effectiveness of an intervention led by lay health counsellors in primary care settings (the MANAS intervention) to improve the outcomes of people with common mental disorders.
Twenty-four primary care facilities (12 public, 12 private) in Goa (India) were randomised to provide either collaborative stepped care or enhanced usual care to adults who screened positive for common mental disorders. Participants were assessed at 2, 6 and 12 months for presence of ICD-10 common mental disorders, the severity of symptoms of depression and anxiety, suicidal behaviour and disability levels. All analyses were intention to treat and carried out separately for private and public facilities and adjusted for the design. The trial has been registered with clinicaltrials.gov (NCT00446407).
A total of 2796 participants were recruited. In public facilities, the intervention was consistently associated with strong beneficial effects over the 12 months on all outcomes. There was a 30% decrease in the prevalence of common mental disorders among those with baseline ICD-10 diagnoses (risk ratio (RR) = 0.70, 95% CI 0.53–0.92); and a similar effect among the subgroup of participants with depression (RR = 0.76, 95% CI 0.59–0.98). Suicide attempts/plans showed a 36% reduction over 12 months (RR = 0.64, 95% CI 0.42–0.98) among baseline ICD-10 cases. Strong effects were observed on days out of work and psychological morbidity, and modest effects on overall disability. In contrast, there was little evidence of impact of the intervention on any outcome among participants attending private facilities.
Trained lay counsellors working within a collaborative-care model can reduce prevalence of common mental disorders, suicidal behaviour, psychological morbidity and disability days among those attending public primary care facilities.
Primary care services have not generally been effective in meeting mental health care needs. There is evidence that collaboration between primary care and specialist mental health services can improve clinical and organisational outcomes. It is not clear however what factors enable or hinder effective collaboration. The objective of this study was to examine the factors that enable effective collaboration between specialist mental health services and primary mental health care.
A narrative and thematic review of English language papers published between 1998 and 2009. An expert reference group helped formulate strategies for policy makers. Studies of descriptive and qualitative design from Australia, New Zealand, UK, Europe, USA and Canada were included. Data were extracted on factors reported as enablers or barriers to development of service linkages. These were tabulated by theme at clinical and organisational levels and the inter-relationship between themes was explored.
A thematic analysis of 30 papers found the most frequently cited group of factors was "partnership formation", specifically role clarity between health care workers. Other factor groups supporting clinical partnership formation were staff support, clinician attributes, clinic physical features and evaluation and feedback. At the organisational level a supportive institutional environment of leadership and change management was important. The expert reference group then proposed strategies for collaboration that would be seen as important, acceptable and feasible. Because of the variability of study types we did not exclude on quality and findings are weighted by the number of studies. Variability in local service contexts limits the generalisation of findings.
The findings provide a framework for health planners to develop effective service linkages in primary mental health care. Our expert reference group proposed five areas of strategy for policy makers that address organisational level support, joint clinical problem solving, local joint care guidelines, staff training and supervision and feedback.
Narrative review; mental health services; primary health care; cooperative behaviour