In Uganda, a previous study reported high HIV prevalence in persons with severe mental illness (SMI) compared to the general population, suggesting that persons with SMI might constitute a high-risk group for HIV. However, the study included first-time psychiatric admissions only, a group whose HIV prevalence may not reflect the prevalence in persons with SMI in general. We determined prevalence and correlates of HIV in both first-time and previous psychiatric admissions, in a psychiatric hospital in Uganda.
Cross-sectional study of HIV status in persons consecutively discharged from psychiatric admission wards in Butabika hospital, Uganda. Inclusion criteria: age 18–49 years; schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, or other non-substance-use-related psychosis; Luganda or English proficiency. Exclusion criterion: Mental incapacity to give informed consent. Participants were HIV-tested, and interviewed using a structured questionnaire. Data were analysed using logistic regression.
HIV prevalence was 11.3% (CI 8.8-13.8) overall, 7.3% (CI 4.1-10.5) in men and 14.3% (CI 10.6-18.0) in women. Females had higher risk of HIV infection than males (OR 2.10; CI 1.20-3.67), after adjustment for age. Older patients had higher risk of HIV infection than younger patients (40–49 vs. 18–29 years: OR 2.34; CI 1.27-4.32), after adjustment for sex. Place of residence, marital status, income, education, occupation, psychiatric diagnosis and history of previous admission were not associated with HIV infection, after adjustment for sex and age. The above associations did not significantly differ between men and women.
Persons admitted for SMI in Uganda have higher HIV prevalence than persons in the general population, irrespective of previous admissions. The excess HIV prevalence is mainly confined to women. The findings call for the integration of HIV prevention, testing and care with mental health services in settings with generalized HIV epidemics. Moreover, further research is needed to clarify the mechanisms underlying the increased HIV prevalence in women with SMI in Uganda, and to identify effective community-based interventions for this vulnerable group.
Prevalence; HIV; Mental illness; Psychosis; Low-income country; Uganda
The World Mental Health Survey Initiative was designed to evaluate the prevalence, the correlates, the impact and the treatment patterns of mental disorders. This paper describes the rationale and the methodological details regarding the implementation of the survey in Portugal, a country that still lacks representative epidemiological data about psychiatric disorders.
The World Mental Health Survey is a cross-sectional study with a representative sample of the Portuguese population, aged 18 or older, based on official census information. The WMH-Composite International Diagnostic Interview, adapted to the Portuguese language by a group of bilingual experts, was used to evaluate the mental health status, disorder severity, impairment, use of services and treatment. Interviews were administered face-to-face at respondent’s dwellings, which were selected from a nationally representative multi-stage clustered area probability sample of households. The survey was administered using computer-assisted personal interview methods by trained lay interviewers. Data quality was strictly controlled in order to ensure the reliability and validity of the collected information.
A total of 3,849 people completed the main survey, with 2,060 completing the long interview, with a response rate of 57.3%. Data cleaning was conducted in collaboration with the WMHSI Data Analysis Coordination Centre at the Department of Health Care Policy, Harvard Medical School. Collected information will provide lifetime and 12-month mental disorders diagnoses, according to the International Classification of Diseases and to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
The findings of this study could have a major influence in mental health care policy planning efforts over the next years, specially in a country that still has a significant level of unmet needs regarding mental health services organization, delivery of care and epidemiological research.
A mental health needs assessment in the Irish prison population confirmed findings from other jurisdictions showing high prevalence of severe mental illness, including psychosis amongst those newly committed. We implemented a participatory action research approach in order to provide an integrated mental health prison in-reach and court liaison service for this population.
Following extensive consultation, a two stage screening process was developed which was supplemented by an inter-agency referral management system. During the six years 2006–2011, all 20,084 new remands to the main remand prison serving 58% of the national population were screened. Following the first stage screen, 3,195 received a comprehensive psychiatric assessment. Of these 561 (2.8%) had symptoms of psychosis – corresponding to the prior research finding – and 572 were diverted from the criminal justice system to mental health services (89 to a secure forensic hospital, 164 to community mental health hospitals and 319 to other community mental health services).
We have shown that it is possible to match research findings in clinical practice by systematic screening, to sustain this over a long period and to achieve consistent levels of diversion from the criminal justice system to appropriate mental health services. The sustained and consistent performance of the model used is likely to reflect the use of participatory action research both to find the most effective model and to achieve wide ownership and cooperation with the model of care.
Psychiatric illness; Prison psychiatry; Screening; Court liaison; Court diversion
The importance of diagnosing and treating co-occurring psychiatric disorders among substance abusers in treatment has received much attention. The aim of this study was to investigate to which extent co-occurring psychiatric disorders are diagnosed in a clinical population of substance abusers, and which factors (including the use of MINI-Plus) that influence the diagnosing of co-occurring psychiatric disorders.
Patients (N = 275) who received inpatient substance use treatment in five different units in Northern Norway participated in the study. The patients’ clinicians gave information on diagnoses given during the stay in the units, and whether a systematic diagnostic tool was used for the diagnosing (MINI-Plus). Predictors of independent co-occurring psychiatric disorders were examined utilizing hierarchical regression analysis.
One third of the patients were given an independent psychiatric diagnosis. Less than half of the patients were assessed using a diagnostic tool. The main predictor of diagnosing of independent psychiatric disorders was the use of the diagnostic tool MINI-Plus. Younger patients and patients that used less alcohol, were given independent psychiatric diagnoses more frequently.
The number of co-occurring independent psychiatric diagnoses was lower compared to other studies using standardized diagnostic tools. The low number of patients assessed by such a tool, and the strong relationship between the use of such a tool and the diagnosing of co-occurring psychiatric disorders, suggest that the implementation of standardized diagnostic tools should be addressed in the units. Generally, patients suffering from substance use disorders should be systematically screened for other psychiatric disorders, in order to improve their treatment and health.
Co-occurring disorders; Substance use disorders; Diagnostic practice; MINI-Plus
Relatively little is known about how depression amongst people with chronic illness is identified and managed in diverse primary health care settings. We evaluated the role of complex physical needs in influencing current practice of depression screening, documentation and antidepressant prescriptions during a 12-month period, among adults with Type 2 diabetes attending Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander primary care health centres in Australia.
We analysed clinical audit data from 44 health centres participating in a continuous quality improvement initiative, using previously reported standard sampling and data extraction protocols. Eligible patients were those with Type 2 diabetes with health centre attendance within the past 12 months. We compared current practice in depression screening, documentation and antidepressant prescription between patients with different disease severity and co-morbidity. We used random effects multiple logistic regression models to adjust for potential confounders and for clustering by health centre.
Among the 1174 patients with diabetes included, median time since diagnosis was 7 years, 19% of patients had a co-existing diagnosis of Ischaemic Heart Disease and 1/3 had renal disease. Some 70% of patients had HbAc1>7.0%; 65% had cholesterol >4.0 mmol1-1 and 64% had blood pressure>130/80 mmHg. Documentation of screening for depression and of diagnosed depression were low overall (5% and 6% respectively) and lower for patients with renal disease (Adjusted odds ratio [AOR] 0.21; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.14 to 0.31 and AOR 0.34; 95% CI 0.15 to 0.75), and for those with poorly controlled disease (HbA1c>7.00 (AOR 0.40; 95% CI 0.23 to 0.68 and AOR 0.51; 95% CI 0.30 to 84)). Screening for depression was lower for those on pharmaceutical treatment for glycaemic control compared to those not on such treatment. Antidepressant prescription was not associated with level of diabetes control or disease severity.
Background levels of depression screening and documentation were low overall and significantly lower for patients with greater disease severity. Strategies to improve depression care for vulnerable populations are urgently required. An important first step in the Australian Indigenous primary care context is to identify and address barriers to the use of current clinical guidelines for depression screening and care.
Diabetes mellitus; Type 2; Depression; Quality improvement; Indigenous health services
Depression is among the most common psychiatric conditions in primary health care, and constitutes an important part of the global disease burden. However, it is difficult to obtain comparable data on depression worldwide and models for treatment and intervention need to be locally adapted. We conducted a narrative review of research literature on factors that influence depression screening, diagnosis and treatment among the Vietnamese population. This explorative approach included studies describing: a) culturally or contextually specific risk-factors for depression; b) any depression treatment seeking or treatment acceptability/adherence aspects or; c) depression screening among Vietnamese patients. We searched the PubMed and Cinahl databases, as well as relevant Vietnamese peer-reviewed journals and this produced 20 articles that were included in the review. Our findings indicate the importance of considering somatic symptoms when screening for depression in Vietnam as well as the use of culturally adapted and dimensional screening instruments. Our study confirms that depression reflects chronic social adversity, and thus an approach to mental health management that focuses solely on individual pathology will fail to address its important social causes. Further studies should elucidate whether neurasthenia is a commonly used illness label among Vietnamese patients that coincides with depression. The tendency among Vietnamese to seek traditional Vietnamese medicine and meditation practice when experiencing emotional distress was supported by our findings.
Vietnam; Depression; Mental health system; Depression screening; Depression treatment
In recent years the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) methodology has often been used by international or national health authorities, or scientific societies, for developing evidence-based treatment recommendations. However, the GRADE approach has never been used by practicing physicians who aim at harmonizing their prescribing behaviours paying due attention to the best available evidence. This paper describes the experience of a working group of psychiatrists who adopted the GRADE approach to develop clinical recommendations on the use of psychotropic drugs in specialist mental healthcare.
The project was conducted in the Department of Mental Health of Verona, Italy, a city located in the north of Italy. At the beginning of 2012, psychiatrists with a specific interest in the rational use of psychotropic drugs were identified and appointed as members of a Guideline Development Group (GDG). The first task of the GDG was the identification of controversial areas in the use of psychotropic drugs, the definition of scoping questions, and the identification of outcomes of interest. The GDG was supported by a scientific secretariat, who searched the evidence, identified one or more systematic reviews matching the scoping questions, and drafted GRADE tables.
Discussion and evaluation
On the basis of efficacy, acceptability, tolerability and safety data, considering the risk of bias and confidence in estimates, and taking also into consideration preferences, values and practical aspects in favour and against the intervention under scrutiny, a draft recommendation with its strength was formulated and agreed by GDG members. Recommendations were submitted for consideration to all specialists of the Department, discussed in two plenary sessions open to the whole staff, and finally approved at the end of 2012.
The present project of guideline development raised several challenging and innovating aspects, including a “bottom-up” approach, as it was motivated by reasons that found agreement among specialists, those who developed the recommendations were those who were supposed to follow them, and values, preferences and feasibility issues were considered paying due attention to local context variables.
Treatment guidelines; Knowledge transfer; Mental healthcare; Psychotropic drugs
The shift from asylum to community care for mental health patients has burdened the providers of primary health care and, more than all, families. As a result, numerous studies [Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol 31:345–348, 1995, J Health Socisl Behav 36:138–150, 1995] have focused on the burden of care experienced by family members living with individuals with severe mental disorders. This kind of provision, also extols a significant cost to the society at large in terms of significant direct and indirect costs. A cost that may be even higher in times of severe socio-economic crisis.
This study, firstly, aims to examine the burden that the family members experience by caring for individuals with schizophrenia and the identification of the parameters, in a micro and macro level, that affect family burden. Secondly, this study aims to investigate whether the welfare state will be fit to help vulnerable groups as the one studied, especially during economic crisis periods when austerity measures are being implemented into welfare systems. For data collection purposes this study employed the Involvement Evaluation Questionnaire [Schizophr Bull 1998, 24(4):609–618]. The sample consisted of caregivers either living in rural or urban areas of the district of Nicosia, the capital of the Republic of Cyprus. These people were attending regular meetings with their allocated Community Psychiatric Nurses (CPN) in Community Mental Health Centres (CMHC).
Analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) was applied with the tension, the supervision, the worry, and the encouragement entering as dependent factors. In each case, participant’s age, gender, marital status, income, number of people living in the same house with the participant, degree of relationship between the caregiver and the person suffering from severe mental disorder, the age of the relative, and the gender of the relative, were entered as independent factors. Four ANCOVAs were performed, one for each dimension of the family burden. The results from this analysis produced only one significant main effect of the gender of the relative on supervision [F(1,118) = 4.40, p = .011, etap2 = .053] with male relatives suffering from schizophrenia requiring higher supervision than female ones as their relative caregivers responses indicate.
Consequently, families under great stress due to the reasons derived from the weaknesses of the welfare system described throughout this paper would give up and reject the mentally ill individuals who would become outcasts socially. Therefore, health systems need to aim to the development of psychosocial provisions for both family caregivers and patients as to decrease the family burden rates and increase the possibility of smooth transition to the society.
Over the last three decades significant efforts have been made in many European countries to move away from a mental health system dominated by institutional care towards one whereby the main emphasis is on providing care and support within the community. Although the time of starting the reforms, their pace, the political context, and the exact objectives varies substantially across Europe, practically all countries have been undergoing such major reforms aimed at establishing services in the community to replace institutional based care. Each country makes its own decisions about the necessary mental health services taking into account a range of factors including population needs, level of resources, flexibility and coordination of organizational structures, as well as local culture. These factors become an integral element of a national mental health policy and action plan, closely linked with national public health strategies.
Greece has been modernizing an outdated mental health system, which was based on institutional care, over the last 20 years, by developing community-based mental health care. This article describes the methodology used for the evaluation of the Psychargos programme of the mental health reforms in Greece. Various forms of community-based mental health services have been developed including supported living facilities, community mental health centres and employment opportunities.
Evaluation; Mental health reforms; Community mental health services; Greece
The Australian Mental Health Professionals Network (MHPN) is fostering a collaborative, interdisciplinary approach to mental health care through the establishment of local interdisciplinary networks of mental health professionals. This paper reports on those factors seen by MHPN participants and staff as having affected the formation and continuation of interdisciplinary networks, and therefore the likely sustainability of these groups.
The paper draws on qualitative data from focus groups with mental health professionals participating in MHPN activities and MHPN staff.
The findings suggest that MHPN’s approach to establishing sustainable interdisciplinary networks has been influenced by a number of factors at the micro-, meso-and macro levels. At the micro-level, factors such as clarity and structure of ongoing meetings, individual dynamics and the role of ‘champions’ can promote or constrain sustainability of ongoing networks. Those networks that had established following an initial workshop and had continued to meet as an interdisciplinary network tended to be led by well-respected co-ordinators, involve members who are enthusiastic and keen to learn from each other, have a flexible structure and meet regularly for a well-defined purpose. These features are underpinned by good communication between network members and with MHPN administration. At the meso- and macro-levels, the key issue relates to resourcing, as well as the wider policy context.
The support and practical resources provided by MHPN have been crucial in guiding successful networks as they form and continue to meet on a regular basis. The networks have also required internal leadership and support, and a clear purpose in order to form and to continue their activities. These findings are consistent with the literature, which states that sustainability of programs is reliant on factors at the project design and implementation level, as well as on factors inherent within the host organization and at the wider community level.
Mental health; Interdisciplinary; Sustainability; Networks
Mental health disorders account for 13% of the global burden of disease, a burden that low-income countries are generally ill-equipped to handle. Research evaluating the association between mental health and employment in low-income countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, is limited. We address this gap by examining the association between employment and psychological distress.
We analyzed data from the Ghana Socioeconomic Panel Survey using logistic regression (N = 5,391 adults). In multivariable analysis, we estimated the association between employment status and psychological distress, adjusted for covariates. We calculated lost productivity from unemployment and from excess absence from work that respondents reported was because of their feelings of psychological distress.
Approximately 21% of adults surveyed had moderate or severe psychological distress. Increased psychological distress was associated with increased odds of being unemployed. Men and women with moderate versus mild or no psychological distress had more than twice the odds of being unemployed. The association of severe versus mild or no distress with unemployment differed significantly by sex (P-value for interaction 0.004). Among men, the adjusted OR was 12.4 (95% CI: 7.2, 21.3), whereas the association was much smaller for women (adjusted OR = 3.8, 95% CI: 2.5, 6.0). Extrapolating these figures to the country, the lost productivity associated with moderate or severe distress translates to approximately 7% of the gross domestic product of Ghana.
Psychological distress is strongly associated with unemployment in Ghana. The findings underscore the importance of addressing mental health issues, particularly in low-income countries.
Employment; Mental health; Low-income countries
Mental health services for Rivers State and surrounding States in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria are provided only at the neuropsychiatric Rumuigbo Hospital in Port Harcourt City, Rivers State, Nigeria. The study explored mental health nurses’ experiences of providing mental health services at the hospital in an attempt to understand policy implications, identify difficulties and challenges of delivering mental health care services.
A qualitative study using in-depth interview was conducted among 20 mental health nurses working at the neuropsychiatric Rumuigbo Hospital. This was reviewed within the Townsend mental health policy template of context and resources domains.
A lack of political support and senior position in the Ministry of Health hinders service delivery, the prevalence of institutionalized stigma, a lack of training, and system failure to provide services at all levels of care is hampering service delivery. The inadequate allocation of resources for hospital renovations and equipment is preventing appropriate client care, as does the lack of funding for drugs, the cost of which makes them unaffordable, affecting clients staying on treatment.
Education and training of mental health care professionals should be given priority to remedy human resource shortage, provide incentives to motivate health professionals for psychiatric practice, and move toward decentralization of care into general health care services. Information should be provided at all levels to overcome the myths surrounding the causes of mental illnesses, to reduce stigma and discrimination of the affected and their families.
Mental health policy; Mental illness; Primary mental health care; Professional experiences
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
A cluster randomised controlled trial (RCT) of a national Kenyan mental health primary care training programme demonstrated a significant impact for health workers on the health, disability and quality of life of their clients, despite a severe shortage of medicines in the clinics. In order to better understand the potential reasons for the improved outcomes in the intervention group, the experiences of the participating health workers were explored through qualitative focus group discussions, as focus group methodology has been found to be a useful method of obtaining a detailed understanding of client and health worker perspectives within health systems.
Two ninety minute focus groups were conducted in Nyanza province, a poor agricultural region of Kenya, with 10 health workers from the intervention group clinics where staff had received the training programme, and 10 health workers from the control group where staff had not received the training during the earlier randomised controlled trial.
These focus group discussions suggest that the health workers in the intervention group perceived an increase in their communication, diagnostic and counselling skills, and that the clients in the intervention group noticed and appreciated these enhanced skills, while health workers and clients in the control group were both aware of the lack of these skills.
Enhanced health worker skills conferred by the mental health training programme may be responsible for the significant improvement in outcome of patients in the intervention clinics found in the randomised controlled trial, despite the general shortage of medicines and other health system weaknesses. These findings suggest that strengthening mental health training for primary care staff is worthwhile even where health systems are not strong and where the medicine supply cannot be guaranteed.
A cluster randomised controlled trial (RCT) of a national Kenyan mental health primary care training programme demonstrated a significant impact on the health, disability and quality of life of clients, despite a severe shortage of medicines in the clinics (Jenkins et al. Submitted 2012). As focus group methodology has been found to be a useful method of obtaining a detailed understanding of client and health worker perspectives within health systems (Sharfritz and Roberts. Health Transit Rev 4:81–85, 1994), the experiences of the participating clients were explored through qualitative focus group discussions in order to better understand the potential reasons for the improved outcomes in the intervention group.
Two ninety minute focus groups were conducted in Nyanza province, a poor agricultural region of Kenya, with 10 clients from the intervention group clinics where staff had received the training programme, and 10 clients from the control group where staff had not received the training during the earlier randomised controlled trial.
These focus group discussions suggest that the clients in the intervention group noticed and appreciated enhanced communication, diagnostic and counselling skills in their respective health workers, whereas clients in the control group were aware of the lack of these skills. Confidentiality emerged from the discussions as a significant client concern in relation to the volunteer cadre of community health workers, whose only training comes from their respective primary care health workers.
Enhanced health worker skills conferred by the mental health training programme may be responsible for the significant improvement in outcomes for clients in the intervention clinics found in the randomised controlled trial, despite the general shortage of medicines and other health system weaknesses. These findings suggest that strengthening mental health training for primary care staff is worthwhile even where health systems are not strong and where the medicine supply cannot be guaranteed.
We compared demography, diagnoses and clinical needs in acutely admitted psychiatric hospital patients in northwest Russia and northern Norway.
All acutely admitted psychiatric patients in 1 psychiatric hospital in north-west Russia and 2 in northern Norway were in a three months period assessed with HoNOS and a Norwegian form developed to study acute psychiatric services (MAP). Data from a total of 841 patients were analysed (377 Norwegian, 464 Russian) with univariate and multivariate statistics.
Russian patients were more often males who had paid work. 2/3 were diagnosed with alcohol and organic disorders, and 70% reported problems related to sleep. Depression was widespread, as were problems associated with occupation. Many more Norwegian patients were on various forms of social security and lived in community supported homes. They had a clinical profile of affective disorders, use of drugs, suicidality and problems with activities involved of daily life. Slightly more Norwegian patients were involuntary admitted.
Acutely admitted psychiatric patients in North West Russia and Northern Norwegian showed different clinical profiles: alcohol, depression and organic disorders characterised Russian patients, affective disorders, suicidality and use of drugs characterised the Norwegians. Whereas Norwegian patients are mainly referred from GPs the Russians come via 1.line psychiatric services (“dispensaries”). Average length of stay for Russian patients was 2.5 times longer than that of the Norwegian.
Russian psychiatry; Acute psychiatry; Inpatient treatment; Comparative studies
Individuals, families and communities in Northern Sri Lanka have undergone three decades of war trauma, multiple displacements, and loss of family, kin, friends, homes, employment and other valued resources. The objective of the study was understanding common psychosocial problems faced by families and communities, and the associated risk and protective factors, so that practical and effective community based interventions can be recommended to rebuild strengths, adaptation, coping strategies and resilience.
This qualitative, ecological study is a psychosocial ethnography in post-war Northern Sri Lanka obtained through participant observation; case studies; key- informant interviews; and focus groups discussions with mental health and psychosocial community workers as well as literature survey of media and organizational reports. Qualitative analysis of the data used ethnography, case studies, phenomenology, grounded theory, hermeneutics and symbolic interactionism techniques. Quantitative data on suicide was collected for Jaffna and Killinochchi districts.
Complex mental health and psychosocial problems at the individual, family and community levels in a post-war context were found to impair recovery. These included unresolved grief; individual and collective trauma; insecurity, self-harm and suicides; poverty and unemployment; teenage and unwanted pregnancies; alcoholism; child abuse and neglect; gender based violence and vulnerability including domestic violence, widows and female headed-household, family conflict and separation; physical injuries and handicap; problems specific for children and elderly; abuse and/or neglect of elderly and disabled; anti-social and socially irresponsible behaviour; distrust, hopelessness, and powerlessness. Protective factors included families; female leadership and engagement; cultural and traditional beliefs, practices and rituals; and creative potential in narratives, drama and other arts. Risk factors that were impeding community rehabilitation and recovery included continuing military governance, depletion of social capital particularly lack of trust, hope and socio-economic opportunity structures for development that would engender a sense of collective efficacy.
In view of the widespread trauma at the individual, family and collective levels, community based programmes to increase local awareness, knowledge and skills to deal with common mental health and psychosocial issues; and training of community level workers and others in basic mental health and psychosocial problem solving are recommended to rebuild family and community agency and resilience. The use of cultural practices and school based programmes would rekindle community processes.
Collective trauma; Community resilience; Post-war; Post-conflict; Psychosocial; Community based interventions
Data on caregiver strain and depression of principal caregivers of patients with mental illnesses are few in developing countries. Findings from developed countries cannot be applied directly to developing countries as culture specific factors may influence the outcome.
A prospective study was carried out in the University Psychiatry Unit of the National Hospital of Sri Lanka (NHSL) to identify symptoms of depression, caregiver strain and dissatisfaction with life in caregivers of patients with schizophrenia and bipolar affective disorder. Participants were assessed using the Center for Epidemiological Studies – Depression Scale, Satisfaction with Life Scale and the Modified Caregiver Strain Index.
Results and discussion
Eighty caregivers were interviewed (males; 36, 45%). Symptoms of depression were significant in 37.5%, while 48.8% had unsatisfactory scores on the Satisfaction with Life Scale. Depression and higher caregiver strain were associated with spending more time with the patient, interruption to work, disputes with relations, being assaulted by patient and self admission of needing professional help to overcome mental stress.
This study identified several associations for depression and increased caregiver strain among caregivers in a subset of patients with mental disorder in Sri Lanka. These can be used as markers to screen and increase pretest probability to identify caregivers needing help rather than applying the cumbersome questionnaires to all.
The concept of `mindfulness´ was operationalized primarily for patients with chronic stressors, while it is rarely used in reference to soldiers. We intended to validate a modified instrument on the basis of the Freiburg Mindfulness Inventory (FMI) to measure soldiers’ situational awareness (“mindfulness”) in stressful situations/missions. The instrument we will explore in this paper is termed the Conscious Presence and Self Control (CPSC) scale.
The CPSC and further instruments, i.e., Perceived Stress Scale (PSS), stressful military experiences (PCL-M), life satisfaction (BMLSS), Positive Life Construction (ePLC), and self-perceived health affections (VAS), were administered to 281 German soldiers. The soldiers were mainly exposed to explosive ordnance, military police, medical service, and patients with posttraumatic stress disorders.
The 10-item CPSC scale exhibited a one-factorial structure and showed a good internal consistence (Cronbach´s alpha = .86); there were neither ceiling nor bottom effects. The CPSC scores correlated moderately with Positive Life Construction and life satisfaction, and negatively with perceived stress and health affections. Regression analyses indicated that posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms (negative), and the development of effective strategies to deal with disturbing pictures and experiences (positive) were the best predictor of soldiers´ CPSC scores. Soldiers with health affections exhibiting impact upon their daily life had significantly lower CPSC scores than those without impairment (F=8.1; p < .0001).
As core conceptualizations of `mindfulness´ are not necessarily discussed in a military context, the FMI was adopted for military personnel populations, while its two factorial structure with the sub-constructs `acceptance´ and `presence´ was retained. The resulting 10-item CPSC scale had good internal consistence, sound associations with measures of health affections and life satisfaction, and thus can be used as a short and rapid measure in pre-post mission and interventional studies.
Mindfulness; Conscious presence; Soldiers; Trauma; Validation; Questionnaire
Integrating mental health into primarily health care and studying risk for mental health particularly depression needs assessment of different factors including those that impede diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders. But so far the numbers of literature for local context to analyze risk factors for depression and its treatment are scare. The objective of this study was to assess risk factors and health service attendance for depression among adults, in Ethiopia.
For this analysis, data from the Ethiopian National health survey was used. The Ethiopian national health survey studied 4,925 adults aged 18 years and older to obtain among other things, data on depression episodes, socio-demographic, chronic diseases, life style factors and treatment receiving for depression episodes in the past twelve months using questionnaire from world health organization (WHO). Prevalence of Depression in respondents based on ICD-10 criteria was estimated and logistic regression analysis was used to identify risk factors for depression and treatment receiving.
The prevalence of depressive episode was 9.1% (95% CI: 8.39-9.90). In a Univariate analysis, residence, age, marital status, educational status, number of diagnosed chronic non communicable diseases (heart diseases, diabetic mellitus and arthritis) and alcohol drinking status were associated with depression. After full adjustment for possible confounding, odds ratios for depression were significantly higher only for older age, divorced and widowed, number of diagnosed chronic non communicable diseases and alcohol drinking status. The proportion of attending health service among those with depression episodes was 22.9%. After full control for all socio-demographic variables the only predictor variable was educational status, being in grade 5–8 had a higher odds (OR=2.6, 95% CI: 1.23-5.43) and 9–12 grade (OR=1.8 95% CI: 1.45-6.12) of attending service for depressive episodes.
Age, marital status, number of diagnosed chronic non communicable diseases and alcohol consumption were the most important risk factors for depressive episodes. Generally there was lower use of health service for depressive episodes and low educational status was found to be barriers for service use. There is a need to formulate policy for mental health and training of primary health care workers in mental health to early identify and treat cases with depression episodes, so as to decrease prevalence of depression episodes and to improve accessibility of service use.
In the general belief, schizophrenia is associated with the concepts of seriousness, incurability, dangerousness: this is incorrect. In recent decades, the interest in course studies increased and different trends emerged, not necessarily chronic, with the possibility of remission.
The plan of this research was to draw a picture of the schizophrenia syndrome in a specific geographic area, in the past and at present time: this allows to detect needs, weaknesses and strengths, for a better planning of future interventions.
The course of all cases diagnosed as schizophrenia (N = 1,759) in the period 1978–2008, was retrospectively studied in the entire population of an Italian province by observing, for a mean period of 12 years per person, age at first psychiatric consultation, number and length of admissions for both acute symptoms and residential-rehabilitation programs, number of interventions in outpatients. The cases under treatment (N = 842), were evaluated in terms of symptoms, using the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale, and in terms of functioning, using the Personal and Social Functioning Scale.
The disease course differs significantly between genders: males have an earlier age at first consultation (about 7 years earlier), higher admission rates, greater number of outpatient interventions and personal and social functioning significantly worse.
Hospitalization resulted often unnecessary: 23.1% of cases were never hospitalized and 67.2% spent less than one week per year in hospital.
A quarter of the cases meets the international criteria for remission and more than 75% are asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic; only 5.3% of cases shows severe symptoms. However, Personal and Social Functioning highlights, in about 1/3 of cases, relevant or serious problems mainly in Work and Relationships areas, whilst Aggressiveness is a serious problem only in 9%.
In this population, schizophrenia in real life shows great individual variability in course, symptoms and functioning: in most cases nowadays it appears a less severe and chronic disease than in the past, but further improvements are needed on disability prevention and social inclusion.
Schizophrenia; Course; Outcome; Hospitalization index; Remission; Personal and social functioning
Specialist mental health care is out of reach for most Indians. The World Health Organisation has called for the integration of mental health into primary health care as a key strategy in closing the treatment gap. However, few studies in India have examined medical practitioners’ mental health-related knowledge and attitudes. This study examined these facets of service provision amongst doctors providing primary health care in a rural area of Karnataka is Southern India.
A mental health knowledge and attitudes questionnaire was self- administered by participants. The questionnaire consisted of four sections; 1) basic demographics and practice information, 2) training in mental health, 3) knowledge of mental health, and self-perceived competence in providing mental health care, and 4) attitudes towards mental health. Data was analysed quantitatively, primarily using descriptive statistics.
This study recruited 46 participants. The majority of participants (69.6%) felt competent in providing mental health services to their patients. However, there was a substantial level of endorsement for several statements that reflected negative attitudes. Almost one third of participants (28.0%) had not received any training in providing mental health care. Whilst three-quarters of participants correctly identified depression (76.1%) and psychosis (76.1%) in a vignette, fewer were able to name three common signs and symptoms of depression (50.0%) and psychosis (28.3%).
Integrating mental health into primary health care requires evidence-based up-skilling programs. Doctors in this study desired such training and would benefit from it, with a focus on both depth of knowledge and uncovering stigmatising attitudes towards people with mental health problems.
Recent years have seen the large-scale development of clinical practice guidelines for mental disorders in several countries. In the Netherlands, more than ten multidisciplinary guidelines for mental health care have been developed since 2003. The first dealt with the treatment of anxiety disorders. An important question was whether it is feasible to implement these guidelines because implementing practice guidelines is often difficult. Although several implementation interventions have proven effective, there seems to be no ready-made strategy that works in all circumstances.
The Dutch multidisciplinary guidelines for anxiety disorders were implemented in a community mental health care centre, located in the east of the Netherlands. The centre provides secondary outpatient care. The unit within the centre that specializes in the treatment of anxiety disorders has 16 team members with diverse professional backgrounds. Important steps in the process of implementing the guidelines were analysing the care provided before start of the implementation to determine the goals for improvement, and analysing the context and target group for implementation. Based on these analyses, a tailor-made multifaceted implementation strategy was developed that combined the reorganization of the care process, the development of instruction materials, the organization of educational meetings and the use of continuous quality circles to improve adherence to guidelines.
Discussion and evaluation
Significant improvements in adherence rates were made in the aspect of care that was targeted for change. An increase was found in the number of patients being provided with recommended forms of psychotherapeutic treatment, ranging from 43% to 54% (p < 0.01). The delivery of adequate pharmacological treatment was not explicitly targeted for change remained constant.
The case study presented here shows that the implementation of practice guidelines for anxiety disorders in mental health care is feasible. Based on the results of our study, the implementation model used offers a useful approach to guideline implementation. By describing the exact steps that were followed in detail and providing some of the tools that were used in the study, we hope the replication of this implementation methodology is made more practical for others in the future.
Anxiety disorders; Practice guidelines; Implementation strategy; Tools for implementation
Children and adolescents from complex or disadvantaged backgrounds and multiple needs often are reluctant to seek help and this is particularly relevant in the context of mental health difficulties. Further, the complexity of the health system can be overwhelming to the family who are likely to be chaotic and less able to seek help. The current project piloted an integrated service delivery model involving a child psychiatry service and the department of education to promote access to mental health assessment and intervention to young people attending special education schools in Sydney, Australia.
Findings and conclusion
The project allowed improved access to mental health services for a group of young people who would otherwise not have sought help through traditional referral pathways. Our findings support strategies to promote the social milieu of schools as a way of achieving better mental health and learning outcomes.
Access to mental health services; Children; Adolescents
Crisis resolution and home treatment (CRHT) is an emerging mode of delivering acute mental health care in the community. There is a paucity of knowledge regarding the workings of CRHT in the literature. This is the first paper in a series of three from the longitudinal survey of patients of a CRHT team in Norway, which was aimed at describing the characteristics of patients served, professional services provided, and clinical outcomes. This report focuses on describing the characteristics of the patients at admission.
The study was a descriptive, quantitative study based on the patient data from a longitudinal survey of one CRHT team in Norway. The participants of the survey, a total of 363 patients, were the complete registration of patients of this team in the period from February 2008 to July 2009.
Although diverse in their characteristics, the patients were over represented by females, young to middle aged, and people on public support. The patients were mostly referred to the team by self/family members and primary care physicians. At admission, depression was the most prevalent symptom, the overall intensity level of mental health problems was low, and most of the patients had long-standing mental health problems.
Self/family referral seems to be a critical route to receive services by CRTH teams as shown in our study, suggesting a need to examine policies that disallow this form of referral in some communities. The findings from our study show that the patients of the CRHT team, while mostly having long-standing mental health problems and had been receiving healthcare for them, did not have severe mental health problems at admission, although could have been in crises. There is a need for further studies to examine how people with severe mental health problems obtain services in time of crises, and to address the need to gain a greater understanding of the role of CRHT.
Crisis resolution; Mental health home treatment; Mental health services; Community mental health