Inter-sectoral Partnerships, National and Regional Mental Health System Development Programs

This session looked at the collaboration between the organisations and governments involved in providing mental health services, focussing specifically on recent policies and initiatives in Vietnam and other South-East Asian nations.

The National Taskforce on Community Mental Health System Development, Vietnam

In December 2009 GCMH was awarded a grant for a 5-year project to establish a National Taskforce on Community Mental Health System Development in Vietnam (2010-2014). The primary goal of the Taskforce Project is to strengthen the capacity of Vietnam's Ministry of Health and other counterpart organisations to plan, design, and deliver effective, accessible and affordable community mental health and social services to the population of Vietnam. The project includes significant research, training and engagement components. The achievements of the Taskforce Project so far suggest good progress in developing a sustainable program for ongoing work to strengthen mental health and social services for people with mental illnesses in Vietnam. The project’s progress-to-date was presented and why and how all of us can and should get involved in such international partnerships was highlighted.

For further information:

Dr Duc Cuong La

Director, Central Psychiatric Hospital Number 1, Ministry of Health, Vietnam.

Dr Cuong La is responsible for implementing and managing the national mental health program, including the National Community-Based Mental Health Care Program. He is also responsible for coordinating the network of all mental health care facilities in the health sector across the country.

Dr Truong Le Van Ngoc

Secretary, Non-Communicable Disease Programme, Department of Medical Services Administration, Ministry of Health, Vietnam.

Dr Ngoc is the Ministry of Health Officer in charge of the National Mental Health Program. Dr Ngoc manages and coordinates the development and implementation of the mental health policy, plan, and legislation as well as relevant research activities at the national level. She is also actively involved in the National Taskforce on Community Mental Health System Development in Vietnam.

The Viet Nam National Program on Community-Based Social Assistance and Rehabilitation for People with Mental Problems

During the last few years, the Government of Vietnam has issued several policies and plans to care for social protection beneficiaries including people with mental illnesses. Recent government decrees have covered monthly assistance for around 200,000 people with severe mental illnesses living with families and in the community. However, the existing social protection centres that provide care to people with mental health illnessess only respond to 5 per cent of the specific needs of those people and mainly provide residential care for them. Moreover, most of these centers lack skills and methodologies in providing appropriate care. There are too few social workers and no available psychosocial and social work services to care for peole with mental health disorders. The Vietnam Prime Minister has approved the National Programme on Community-Based Social Assistance and Rehabilitation for People with Mental problems, 2011–2020. The revamped mental health system aims to provide integrated medical and social services that are community-based and relevant to the needs of people with mental illness. In addition, the Programme is meant to strengthen the mental health care system by increase collaboration among key sectors, especially between the health and social welfare sectors.

For further information:

To Duc

Department of Social Protection, Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, Vietnam.

Mr Duc is responsible for coordinating the Community-Based Assistance and Functional Rehabilitation for Mentally Ill and Mentally Disordered Project, 2011-2020 (which are managed through the Department of Social Protection) and has made significant efforts to coordinate their work with the Ministry of Health to ensure a well-coordinated, coherent and sustainable system of care.

The ASEAN Mental Health Taskforce

The ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC) is one of the three pillars of the ASEAN community. Within this pillar, health development, which includes access to healthcare and promotion of healthy lifestyles, and improving capability to control communicable diseases are key concerns. Collaboration on mental health has been put into the ASCC Blueprint in 2010 at the 10th ASEAN Health Ministers Meeting in Singapore.

As a result, the ASEAN Strategic Planning Workshop on Mental Health was held in Thailand in 2011 to develop the ASEAN Mental Health Task Force (AMT) five-year work plan. The work plan consists of four strategies: developing ASEAN policy advocacy on mental health, facilitating the integration of mental health into health care system, strengthening the capacity building, facilitating and strengthening mental health information system, knowledge management and research.

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For further information:

Dr Apichai Mongkol

Inspector General of Health, Ministry of Health, Thailand.

Dr Mongkol has degrees in medicine, law and public administration. He is the former Director of the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital in Bangkok, the former Director General of the Department of Mental Health of Thailand, and former Director General of the Department of Medical Science.

Inter-sectoral Partnerships: Lessons from BasicNeeds Programs

In order to be effective, best practice suggests that international NGOs in the field of global mental health have to work in partnership with local community based organisations, national and regional entities as well as global agencies such as the World Health Organisation. In 2012, BasicNeeds was able to reach 217,500 beneficiaries. Drawing on examples from partner organisations and BasicNeeds programmes, Chris Underhill illustrates best practice in inter-sectoral partnerships at local, national and regional level.

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Chris Underhill

BasicNeeds, UK.

Chris Underhill has worked in development from the age of 21, devoting his life to assisting marginalized people in the UK and overseas. He specializes in leadership, technology transfer, disability and mental health. He is currently the Founder Director of BasicNeeds, an international development organisation that works with people with mental health issues and epilepsy using the model for mental health and development that was developed and championed by Chris himself. Chris was made an MBE by the Queen in 2000, a Senior Ashoka Fellow in 2012, and was awarded the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship earlier this year for his pioneering social entrepreneurship.