The Efficiency of Mental Health Integration in Primary Health Care: a Ten-year Study

Reza Khadivi, Mostaffa Shakeri, Shamin Ghobadi


Objectives: This study was conducted on the estimation of the efficiency of mental health program in primary health care in Chaharmahal and Bakhtyari province, situated in center of the Islamic Republic of Iran, from 1999 to 2009.

Methods: One of the important objectives of mental health program is screening of mental health disorders and follow up. According to the prescription of mental health program, General Practitioners (GPs) were appointed to screen under-covered individuals, treat patients and also follow-up the patients with mental health disorders who needs referring to psychiatric clinics. Diagnostic criteria of mental disorders were based on American Psychiatry Association (DSM IV1994). Patients were categorized in four groups as follows: 1 - Severe mental disorders, such as major depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorders, etc., 2 - Mild mental disorders, such as neurosis, anxiety, etc., 3 – Convulsive disorders and 4 - Behavioral disorders. The convulsive disorders and their types were diagnosed by physical examination and electroencephalography. In order to screen mental retardation, intelligence scale (IQ) score < 70 was considered as mental retardation. During the 10 years (1999 to 2009) of conducting program, all new diagnosed cases were confirmed by psychiatrists. All data was recorded in health files by trained GPs and they were assessed and justified by psychiatrists.

Results: During 10 years after conducting and stabilizing integrated mental health in primary health care, 13514 patients overall were newly detected and followed. Ten years incidence of total psychiatric disorders was estimated in about 15.9 per 1000 populations.

Conclusions: Integrated mental health care offers the opportunity to increase access and develop efficiency of the mental health cares.

Keywords: Mental health, Integration, Efficiency, Primary health care.

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