World Health Organization mental health gap action programme (mhGAP) intervention guide: A review of evidence from low- and middle-income countries




Poster session 3 Friday: Evidence Tools / Evidence synthesis - creation, publication and updating in the digital age


Friday 15 September 2017 - 12:30 to 14:00


All authors in correct order:

Keynejad RC1, Dua T2, Barbui C3, Thornicroft G1
1 Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King's College London, United Kingdom
2 Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, World Health Organization, Switzerland
3 WHO Collaborating Centre for Research and Training in Mental Health and Service Evaluation, University of Verona, Italy
Presenting author and contact person

Presenting author:

Roxanne Keynejad

Contact person:

Abstract text
Background: Despite mental, neurological and substance use (MNS) disorders being highly prevalent, a vast gap exists between the need for services and their provision, worldwide. The World Health Organization (WHO) launched its Mental Health Gap Action Programme (mhGAP) in 2008, and the associated intervention guide (mhGAP-IG) in 2010. mhGAP-IG provides evidence-based guidance and tools for the assessment and integrated management of priority MNS disorders in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), using clear protocols for clinical decision making. It is aimed at a non-specialised audience of primary care workers, but is also used by government ministries, non-governmental organisations and academic centres, to scale up mental health services in over 90 countries worldwide. Version 2.0 was published in 2016, reflecting updated evidence and feedback from field users.
Objectives: To identify the evidence base for the practical use of mhGAP-IG in LMICs, in terms of how it has been used, evaluated and reported.
Methods: A search of MEDLINE, Embase, PsycINFO, Web of Knowledge, Web of Science, Scopus, CINAHL, LILACS, ScieELO, Google Scholar and Cochrane databases for studies reporting evidence, experience or evaluation of mhGAP-IG use in LMICs, in English, Spanish, Portuguese, French or German. Additional papers will be identified by hand-searching references and contacting experts and key informants, including the mhGAP forum. Data will be extracted from all included papers to conduct a narrative review, where insufficient similarity is found between evaluation methods to conduct a systematic review.
Results: This review will be completed in May 2017, and the results presented at the Summit.
Conclusions: WHO's mhGAP-IG constitutes a landmark evidence-based tool to further its Comprehensive Mental Health Action Plan 2013-2020, aiming ultimately to achieve Universal Health Coverage. This presentation will discuss the evidence for how mhGAP-IG is being practically used in LMICs, its impact on mental health care, and will make recommendations for supporting field users to undertake evaluation, to inform future iterations of this important global evidence tool.