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I- Introduction:

According to a recent WHO report, about 450 million people are affected by mental, neurological and behavioural problems in their lives and among these 873,000 people die of suicide every year with mental illnesses common to all countries and people with mental disorders usually suffer from social isolation, poor quality of life and increased mortality (WHO report, 2005). Mental illnesses have been found to be precipitated with chronic conditions of cancer, heart and cardiovascular diseases and diabetes and AIDS. Although cost effective treatment methods for mental disorders do exist, according to the WHO , the obstacles to effective treatment of mental illness include a lack of recognition of the seriousness of mental illness and a lack of understanding of the benefits of the mental health services and according to WHO figures most poorly developed economies devote less than 1% of their health expenditure on mental health needs of people.

The unit of WHO responsible for overseeing mental health needs of people, the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse provides guidance for the achievement of two broad objectives:, namely

(a) closing the gap between what is needed and what is currently available to reduce the burden of mental disorders worldwide, and

(b) promoting mental health. (WHO, 2005)

WHO has recently launched mental health Global action Programme (mhGAP) which focuses on partnerships to help countries combat stigma of mental illness and reduce the burden of mental disorders and promote mental health. There are 100 collaborating centres around the world for implementing this objective and involves the coordinated action of policies and interventions of departments of education, social welfare, justice, rural development and women’s affairs.

Mental health is a major public health concern and in 2001 WHO published its report focusing on mental health as the primary issue in its agenda, emphasizing the need for new understanding and a new hope. The World Health report 2001 which focused on mental health helped in shedding new light on mental disorders and offers hope for those suffering from mental disorders and to their families. The report examines the social and psychological burden associated with mental health problems and identifies the principal contributing factors and the scopes and obstacles in treatment. It also provides a critical review of the health services and provisions available with panning an recommendations that can be incorporated in healthcare systems. The mental health Global action Program was a follow up of the World Health report and attempted to close the gap between what is needed and what is available to mentally ill patients and their families. The significance of WHO’s efforts are evident in the countries serious concerns about improving mental health problems around the world.

Through the efforts and actions of the mental health Global Action Programme (mhGAP), there is an opportunity to advance the momentum generated to intensive action s that people with mental illness can access the much needed services and achieve a highest level of recovery and again get entry in mainstream community.

In this essay, we would first take a detailed look a