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Introduction to Mental Health Primary Care

Written by
Dr. Ravi M Soni
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.

Published on Oct 01, 2013 and last reviewed on Nov 02, 2018   -  1 min read


In a country like ours where access to basic primary health care resources is still very poor, in such a scenario expert mental health services are very difficult to provide. Promotion of awareness then becomes increasingly necessary in such situations.

Introduction to Mental Health Primary Care

The reason behind giving first aid is to give initial treatment before the patient is able to receive adequate medical attention at higher centers. The same is true in case of mental health first aid.

The mental health first aid is given to a person having some mental illness or mental health crisis before he receives expert treatment from professionals.

Mental health first aid teaches people how to recognize common mental illness symptoms, how to provide initial help and how to take that person for additional professional help.

Mental health first aid or primary care is an awareness programme. The reasons for its implementation are:

  1. Mental health problems are widespread and very common. They are present in every community.
  2. There is a stigma associated with mental illness, because of that people do not seek professional help.
  3. There is not enough awareness about mental illness. Usually, mental health problems are ascribed to witchcraft, possession, sorcery, weakness of mind, etc.
  4. There are professionals available to treat these issues. So, for making use of the available sources, it is necessary to increase awareness.

Important Steps in Mental Health Primary Care

There are five basic steps, through which a person should approach a person with mental health problems. These are -

  1. Risk of suicide should be assessed.
  2. Listening to the patient without any preformed notions (non-judgmentally).
  3. Giving information about the mental illness and reassuring the patient and the family members.
  4. Encouraging the patient to take appropriate professional help like from psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric social workers, psychiatric nurses, etc.
  5. Giving information about self-help strategies and encouraging the patient and his family members to use them.

The 'mental health primary care' includes a training programme of two days that enhances the basic knowledge and includes awareness lectures about following most common mental health problems:

  1. Introduction to mental health.
  2. Depression.
  3. Anxiety disorder.
  4. Psychosis.
  5. Substance-related problems.

Last reviewed at:
02 Nov 2018  -  1 min read




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