Common Mental Disorders
Common mental disorders are a group of distress states manifesting with anxiety, depressive and unexplained somatic symptoms typically encountered in community and primary care settings. Risk factors for these disorders are mainly lower socio-economic status, psychological illnesses, poor reproductive health, gender disadvantage and physical ill-health. WHO has recommended that treatment of all these disorders should be based in primary care to be more effective and accessible to all the community people. The structure of mental health care in primary care is generally understood in terms of the “pathways to care” model and it plays a major role in countries like ours where community-based mental health services do not exist. Both the psychological and pharmacological therapies are found to be equally effective for treating these disorders. Integration of mental health into primary care can be considered as the stepping stone in the way forward to tackle the barriers and problems in effective management of common mental disorders in the community. The acute shortage of mental health professionals and the relatively low levels of awareness about mental disorders make it mandatory that primary health care should remain the single largest sector for mental health care in low and middle income countries like ours.
Kathmandu Univ Med J 2011;9(3):213-7