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International Policy

Policies developed by governmental and non-governmental organizations in other countries, as well as documents published by international organizations.

The WHO mental health policy and service guidance package
The WHO Mental Health Policy Checklist and the WHO Mental Health Plan checklist are part of a guidance package to help policy makers develop  policies and comprehensive strategies for improving population  mental health; to use existing resources to achieve higher benefits; to provide effective services; and to assist the reintegration of persons with mental health problems into community life and improving their quality of life. The package consists of a series of interrelated user-friendly modules that are designed to address the wide variety of needs and priorities in policy development and service planning. The topic of each of the 14 module represents a core aspect of mental health.

World Psychiatry Association (WPA) guidance on mental health and mental health care in migrants
The purpose of this guidance is to review currently available evidence on mental health problems in migrants and to present advice to clinicians and policy makers on how to provide migrants with appropriate and accessible mental health services. The three phases of the process of migration and the relevant implications for mental health are outlined, as well as the specific problems of groups such as women, children and adolescents, the elderly, refugees and asylum seekers, and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals. The concepts of cultural bereavement, cultural identity and cultural congruity are discussed. The epidemiology of mental disorders in migrants is described. A series of recommendations to policy makers, service providers and clinicians aimed to improve mental health care in migrants are provided, covering the special needs of migrants concerning pharmaco-therapies and psychotherapies.

Mental Health Promotion Case Studies from Countries (2004)
This report is a joint publication of the World Health Organization and the World Federation for Mental Health. The case studies come from most regions of the world, though there are more from high income countries. However, there are some examples of good work from middle and low income countries, often working with incredibly small human and financial resources. Case studies focus on Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, New Zealand, Nigeria, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Turkey, UK, and the US.

Comparing Descriptions of Domestic Violence Health Policy Communities in Five Countries: The Women and Domestic Violence Health Project (WDVHP)
Domestic violence, as one of the most widespread human rights abuses and public health problems in the world today, warrants the concern and attention of health researchers and health care practitioners internationally. Awareness of the wide-ranging impact of DV is increasing but it has not been widely incorporated into mainstream policy and there has been inconsistent response to the problem from the health sector. The Women and Domestic Violence Health Project is an international collaboration of researchers from five countries – Canada, Australia, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Thailand. Canada and Australia report that domestic violence has been a public policy issue for decades but that the health sector still plays a relatively small role in prevention. Team members from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Thailand confirm that the governments of their countries have only recently begun to recognize domestic violence and that the health sector has little involvement. In the “Women’s Participation in Domestic Violence Health Policy Development” project, research conducted by local teams studied the role of policy communities in creating a health sector response in their countries, paying close attention to how indigenous women and their concerns are included. Each country has a different type of government and each country is facing particular challenges that have affected and may continue to affect the development and implementation of DV health policies. With the separate reports of each country as the principal source of data, and returning to the original data as needed for clarification, this comparative report integrates the analyses, looking for commonalities and differences. A conceptual framework of public policy, policy communities and policy provides the context.

Cultural Elements in Community Defined Evidence-Based Mental Health Programs
This product of The Nathan Kline Center of Excellence in Culturally Competent Mental Health is the result of a research project to evaluate three community mental health programmes. Results show that there is flexibility in the manner in which the programmes are delivered. Suggestion are made concerning how best to work with culturally diverse groups.

RESOURCES | Policies and resources from the Victoria Transcultural Psychiatry Unit
The VTPU since its inception in 1989 has monitored the development of significant policies regarding mental health services at national and state government levels. This has informed all activities surrounding education, research and service development. The links listed below represent key policy areas accessible on the Internet.

Healthcare Interpreter Policy: Policy determinants and current issues in the Australian context healthcare interpreter policy Australia
This document makes the point that, for a healthcare interpreter policy to be effective, the perspectives and contexts of all stakeholders must be taken into consideration, that is to say, the patient, provider and, interpreter. It also suggests that in order for the policy’s implementation to be successful, operational changes in the organization may be required. A model of  interpreter policy is provided as a guide.

Immigrant Integration and Mental Health: Brief prepared for the Blue Cross/Blue Shield Foundation (2006)
This academic article discusses the ways in which terms such as acculturation, assimilation, integration and social adjustment, are used to discuss issues pertaining to immigrants and immigration. The author argues that although these terms are widely used, they are poorly understood and may have different meanings dependent upon the discipline of the user. Thus, she discusses “the research underpinnings of language, and theories regarding the incorporation of immigrants into developed country societies”. What the use of these concepts mean for immigrant mental health, forms the basic of a discussion and result in policy recommendations. In addition, there are hyperlinks to various research studies embedded in the paper.

The forsaken mental health of the Indigenous Peoples – A moral case of outrageous exclusion in Latin America
This paper comments, specifically, on the limited impact of the Pan American Health Organization’s mental health initiative on the Indigenous Peoples of Latin America.

New South Wales Refugee Health Plan 2011-2016
The NSW Refugee Health Plan (2011-2016) is the statewide plan for improving the health and well-being of refugees and people with refugee-like experiences who have settled in New South Wales. This Plan seeks to ensure the delivery of safe, high quality services to refugees through both refugee-specific health services and through accessible, culturally and linguistically competent mainstream health services. The Plan identifies a range of strategies designed to improve refugee and asylum seeker health and well-being.

African and Caribbean Mental Health Commission – Improving the mental health of the population. Towards a strategy on mental health for the European Union
This document  by The African and Caribbean Mental Health Commission  (located in the UK) is a response to questions raised by the   European Commission’s (EC) Green Pape on Mental Health.

Behavioral Health Implementation Guide for the National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services in Health and Health Care (Behavioral Health Guide)
In 2000, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Minority Health (OMH) released the National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services in Health and Health Care (National CLAS Standards). The intent of the National CLAS Standards is to improve the quality of care, help eliminate health care disparities, and advance health equity by establishing a blueprint for health and healthcare organizations to implement culturally and linguistically appropriate services. In 2010, OMH revisited the National CLAS Standards, as a way of recognizing the nation’s increasing population diversity, significant growth in the fields of cultural and linguistic competency, emerging federal, state policies and legislation regarding health equity, and growing interest from health plans and providers. (For more details on the development of each standard, see https://www.thinkculturalhealth.hhs.gov/.) In 2013, OMH released the enhanced National CLAS Standards, which are a comprehensive set of 15 guidelines that inform, guide, and facilitate practices related to culturally and linguistically appropriate health services. An accompanying implementation initiative resulted in the development of the Blueprint for Advancing and Sustaining CLAS Policy and Practice, providing specific and systematic guidance for implementing each standard. Now, more than two decades after the release of the original CLAS Standards, and eight years since the enhanced National CLAS Standards were published, there is still much work to be done. Racial/ethnic disparities in health and health care remain a public health challenge, despite advances in health care technology and new delivery systems, and even when factors such as health insurance coverage, income, and educational level are taken into consideration.

While the original and enhanced CLAS Standards were developed for all health care professions and systems, early adopters of the standards were often physical health care organizations, such as primary care clinics, hospitals, health plans and public health agencies. At the time, there was less participation in and engagement with the standards among behavioral health providers, or providers who address the mental health and substance use issues of individuals. Now, increasingly, behavioral health providers and education systems are recognizing the value of the National CLAS Standards in advancing behavioral health equity. This awareness raises the potential for establishing a new benchmark for culturally and linguistically appropriate services to improve the behavioral health of racial/ethnic minority and underserved populations. To advance this effort, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) collaborated with the OMH to develop this Behavioral Health Implementation Guide for the National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services in Health and Health Care (Behavioral Health Guide). This Behavioral Health Guide underscores the ways in which the National CLAS Standards can improve access to behavioral health care, promote quality behavioral health programs and practice, and ultimately reduce persistent disparities in mental health and substance use treatment for underserved, minority populations and communities.