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The truth about mental health - The treatment gap

Updated Thursday, 23rd May 2013

One thing all countries have in common is a treatment ‘gap’ when it comes to mental health. Find out more with this episode of The truth about mental health

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If you have a mental health problem, where you live in the world makes a big difference to the care you’ll receive, but one thing that all countries have in common is a treatment ‘gap’.

In many lower and middle income countries three quarters of people with mental health problems don’t have access to mainstream mental health services, and even in wealthier, developed countries, the figure is close to50 per cent.

In this programme, Claudia Hammond investigates some of the alternatives that occupy this ‘gap’.

Psychiatrist Dr Monique Mutheru is one of just twenty five psychiatrists in Kenya. In the absence of services to meet the mental health needs of Kenyans, traditional healers and witchdoctors play a crucial role in diagnosing and treating them.  Claudia looks at a programme which is bringing the health workers and traditional healers together, training traditional healers to refer their severely ill patients to the clinic and avoid harmful practices that some healers carry out, such as lobotomy and bloodletting.

Even in the developed countries like the United Kingdom, where mental health services are available and are free, some people with mental health problems feel that the treatments available don’t help them. The Hearing Voices Network provides support to ‘voice hearers’, through support groups, helping them to manage and engage with the voices that trouble them. 

 

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