Mental Health Gap Action Programme (mhGAP)

01/01/2008View on timeline


To overcome this gap, the World Health Organization (WHO) initiated in 2008 the “Mental Health Gap Action Programme” (mhGAP).


These proposals [the GMh and the mhGAP] have been accompanied by controversy, for example over the validity of diagnostic instruments across different countries and the reliability of epidemiological estimates of the global prevalence of mental disorders (Mills 2014; Summerfield 2008, 2012; Watters 2010).

Vidal, Fernando and Ortega, Francisco. Being Brains: Making the Cerebral Subject (Forms of Living)....

Preface to the mhGAP-IG

Mental, neurological and substance use (MNS) disorders are highly prevalent, accounting for a large burden of disease and disability globally. There remains awide gap between available health systems capacity and resources, what is urgentlyneeded, and what is available to reduce the burden. Nearly 1 in 10 people have amental health disorder, but only 1% of the global health workforce provides mentalhealth care. MNS disorders interfere, in substantial ways, with the ability of children tolearn and the ability of adults to function in families, at work, and in society at large.

Recognizing the imperative to provide services for people with MNS disorders and theircarers, and to bridge the gap between available resources and the large need for theseservices, the WHO Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse launched theMental Health Gap Action Programme (mhGAP) in 2008. The key objectives of mhGAPare to reinforce the commitment of governments, international organizations and otherstakeholders to increase the allocation of financial and human resources for careof MNS disorders and to achieve much higher coverage with key interventions in lowand middle-income countries. Through these objectives, mhGAP provides evidence-basedguidance and tools to advance toward achieving the targets of the ComprehensiveMental Health Action Plan 2013-2020. [...]

by Shekhar Saxena
Director, Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse
World Health Organization

Below, you can download the most recent version of the Intervention Guide from which this preface was extracted, launched by WHO in 2010:

mhGAP Intervention Guide 2.0
WHO: Mental Health Gap Action Programme
Mental Health for All by Involving All | Vikram Patel | TED Talks
Mental Health Gap Action Program: mhGAP (Uganda Pilot 2012-2016)
WHO mental health gap action programme (mhGAP) intervention guide

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Published in 30/01/2019

Updated in 19/02/2021

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