Mental health

WHO-AIMS - General Information

Mental health systems of selected low- and middle-income countries

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    This report presents data on mental health systems of 42 low- and middle-income countries (LAMICs) using the World Health Organization Assessment Instrument for Mental Health Systems (WHO-AIMS). The comprehensive and detailed information gathered through WHO-AIMS and summarized in this report attempts to provide a better understanding of mental health systems in these countries. Information derived from this study is being used to develop plans for strengthening community care and scaling up care for people with mental disorders, hence contributing to the objectives of the Mental Health Gap Action Programme (mhGAP) of the World Health Organization.

Descriptive statistics are available for all WHO-AIMS indicators

What is WHO-AIMS?

The World Health Organization Assessment Instrument for Mental Health Systems (WHO-AIMS) is a new WHO tool for collecting essential information on the mental health system of a country or region. The goal of collecting this information is to improve mental health systems and to provide a baseline for monitoring the change.

For the purpose of WHO-AIMS, a mental health system is defined as all the activities whose primary purpose is to promote, restore or maintain mental health. WHO-AIMS is primarily intended for assessing mental health systems in low and middle income countries, but is also a valuable assessment tool for high resource countries. Please click below for the WHO-AIMS instrument and supporting documentation.

Note: Great care has been taken to ensure the reliability of the data presented in the WHO-AIMS country reports. Data for WHO-AIMS are collected by a team led by a focal point within the country and are, in most cases, approved by the Ministry of Health. However, since WHO is not directly responsible for the data collection, WHO cannot independently verify the accuracy of any of the data presented in these reports.

WHO-AIMS Instrument, Version 2.2

WHO-AIMS Country Reports

WHO report on mental health systems in the Caribbean region

This report offers a comparative study of sixteen countries and territories from the Caribbean Region, where the WHO-AIMS was implemented in collaboration between Ministries of Health, PAHO/WHO representations and Regional Office, and the WHO Department for Mental Health and Substance Abuse.

The challenges that presents a region with limited mental health resources are many, as many are the answers that most of the members of this region have encountered to overcome the difficulties, by introducing innovative services and modalities of care. Comparing results among countries and territories could contribute to identify weaknesses and strengths for the improvement of mental health systems in the region.

WHO report on mental health systems in Central America and Dominican Republic

Between 2005 and 2007 the six Central American countries and the Dominican Republic used the WHO-AIMS to assess their mental health systems. The Ministries of Health in each country agreed to participate in this study and all were actively involved in the implementation. The PAHO/WHO representation in the countries, the PAHO/WHO regional Unit of Mental Health, and the WHO Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse provided technical support throughout the process.

This report summarizes the results of the assessments in these seven countries. This report identifies the major mental health limitations and problems faced by this sub region and outlines the progress made in the past few years. The report also shows that it is feasible and sometimes desirable to reorganize a country’s mental health services.

WHO report on mental health systems in South America

Eight (Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay) of the ten South American countries conducted in the period 2006-2008 the evaluation of their mental health systems. The evaluation was made possible by the joint effort of country-based institutions, the mental health program of the regional office of PAHO/WHO, including its sub-regional office and PAHO country representations, and WHO headquarters.

This is a consolidated document which enables the reader to have access to information both to the status of the six domains covered by the evaluation and, especially, to compare facts and figures among countries. Mental heath stakeholders could profit from the report for purposes of advocacy and program planning purported to upgrade the system in compliance with Member-State Resolutions adopted in three different sessions (1997, 2001 and 2009) of the governing bodies of PAHO/WHO. This report is for the moment available in Spanish only.

How can WHO-AIMS help to improve mental health systems?

The implementation of WHO-AIMS can generate information on strengths and weaknesses to facilitate improvement in mental health services. WHO-AIMS will enable countries to develop information-based mental health plans with clear base-line information and targets. It will also be useful to monitor progress in implementing reform policies, providing community services, and involving users, families and other stakeholders in mental health promotion, prevention, care and rehabilitation.

Which countries are participating in the project?

Over 100 countries are currently participating in the WHO-AIMS project.

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