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Global mental health: Perspectives from Ethiopia

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Abebaw Fekadu, Graham Thornicroft

Original languageEnglish
Article number23447
JournalGlobal Health Action
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014

King's Authors


Background: Global mental health (GMH) advocates for access to and the equitable provision of mental health care. Although the treatment gap is a useful construct to measure access and equitability of care, it fails to communicate the real-life consequences of the treatment gap and the urgent need to address care disparities. Objective: The aim of this article is to present a perspective on the practical application of the principles of GMH to understand the real-life impact of the treatment gap and the approaches taken to improve treatment coverage in Ethiopia. Design: A case study method is used. Results: Multiple international collaborations undertaken in Ethiopia and facilitated by GMH to improve care, capacity, and the evidence base for increased treatment coverage are described briefly. A series of steps taken at the local and national levels to address the treatment gap are highlighted. The stories of two patients are also presented to illustrate the real-life consequences of the treatment gap and the potential transformational impact of addressing the treatment gap on patients, families, and communities. Conclusions: GMH has a key role to play in addressing the treatment gap, which improves the life of people with mental disorders, their families, and their communities. However, national-level policy support and coordination are essential for any realistic improvement in treatment coverage. The reflections offered through the case examples may have utility in similar low-income settings.

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