Integrating mental health services in primary health care in the central Asian republics

The WHO European Mental Health Action Plan focuses on the need to reduce reliance on institutional care and develop accessible community-based facilities that offer safe and effective treatment and care. To support implementation of this Plan, the second in a series of WHO-led workshops on mental health services development in the central Asian republics and the Russian Federation took place in Astana, Kazakhstan on 21 August 2014. Representatives of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russian Federation, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan discussed how to develop community-based mental health services, strengthen human resources for mental health and strengthen future collaboration.

The workshop was facilitated by Dr Matt Muijen, Mental Health Programme Manager at WHO/Europe, who also met with national representatives and international partners in Kazakhstan to discuss further WHO support and technical assistance for the development of national mental health services. The focus of his visit was on integration and expansion of the scope of primary health care services, such as early detection and treatment of depression and suicide prevention. Dr Muijen also visited the psychiatric and narcology centre and the family medicine/primary health care centre Demeo in Astana.

The workshop was jointly organized by the Government of Kazakhstan and WHO within the framework of the 4th National Congress of psychiatrists of Kazakhstan on the topic of “Integration of mental health services into primary health care”.