• Internal Code :
  • Subject Code : SOC103A
  • University : Jansen Newman Institute
  • Subject Name : social policy assessment

Case study: WHO Mental Health Gap Action Program


This case study considered the Mental Health week event of Australia for elaborating the concept of WHO (World Health Organization) regarding the mental health of the public. The WHO (World Health Organization) is a devoted agency of the United Nations that is concerned with comprehensive public health. This case study focuses on the WHO Mental Health Gap Action Program (mhGAP), an event held in 2017, October (Semrau et al., 2015). We further illustrated the case in different sections to elaborate on the concept of the event. A concise introduction to the event is being covered in the first section. The second section emphasizes the role of government and non-government organizations along with their contribution to addressing mental health in Australia. Furthermore, the third section discussed the worth of fetching communities in mental health week initiatives. The impact of social media encountered a part of attraction in the case and hence it is being covered in the fourth section. The case study initiatives and events have been interlinked with relevant theories proposed by the researchers in the past.

Overview of the Mental Health Gap Action Program (mhGAP)

The WHO Mental Health Gap Action Program (mhGAP) aims to scale up health services for mental disorders. The key concept of this initiative is to provide well-being amenities, especially in small and middle revenue countries for the well-being of society. The Mental Health Week of 2017 aims to enhance the country's deed on mental health reflecting the vision of WHO’s 13Th General Program of Work (Keynejad, Dua, Barbui, & Thornicroft, 2018). This program has three interconnected tactical significances to ensure the strong lives and well-being of the population as shown in the picture below.


Objectives of the Mental Health Gap Action Plan

(a)Fortify operative management and supremacy for mental health.
(b)Offer inclusive, incorporated and approachable mental health and public attention services in the public.
(c)Implement new tactics for elevation and deterrence in mental health.
(d)Reinforce information network, indication, and exploration for mental health.

Each of the four objectives is escorted by one or two precise goals that offer the root for measurable communal practices. A set of core pointers relevant to these objectives as well as other activities have been established and are being composed by the Mental Health Atlas plan periodically. Multiple resources are available to help in reducing the dealing gap in mental health and to improve the ability of Member States to respond to the huge problem of mental, neural and material use sicknesses. Mental, nervous, and body use disorders are mutual problems addressed in all regions of the globe (World Health Organization2017). These disorders are highly affecting every civic and age group across all revenue countries. Apart from this, 75 per cent of low-income countries have not accessed to the treatment for these disorders. The program proclaims that with proper care and concern for the people suffering from by providing medication and counseling facilities, dozen millions could be preserved from downheartedness, schizophrenia, and epilepsy and can lead to happy lives. This program will offer an opportunity for miscellaneous stakeholders to discuss growth on WHOs Mental Health Action Plan of the country. The hopes of achievement from the initiative are:

(a)The country should be prepared for health emergencies.
(b)To prevent epidemics and pandemics in the country.
(c)Rapid discovery and response to health emergencies.

The role of government and Non-government agencies in addressing mental health in Australia

The federal administrations work in partnership with the state to discourse mental well-being in Australia. The accountability for funding and modifying mental health services in Australia is united among the Australian and national governments. However, the Parliamentary Library publication stated that the roles of the respective organization are not clear and precise. Federal laws and policies create variations and offer omission across the states. Legislation at this stage may take a longer time but can have a massive influence once approved. In Australia, mental health facilities delivered by GPs, doctors, psychologists, occupational analyst, and social labors may be subsidized through Medicare (Australian Government, n.a.). The government of Australia looks into the matter of Medicare services available in the country and the changes required leveraging the betterment in the mental health of the public (Roberts, 2017). The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHM) approximates the total spending required for proposing mental health services in Australia. In 2016-17 Australian government expended 1.2 billion dollars on health care-subsidized. The government is also liable to defend the rights of individuals through mental health illnesses in a range of settings, counting workplace, schools, and in treatment (Whiteford et al., 2016)

Non-government organizations are the key constituent of the mental health attention system. These organizations operate with the help of charity and trust funding to offer a variety of health suites and provision services to people with mental disease. These organizations conduct counseling or emotional support. In Australia, non-government agencies are active in mental health services. In past years, 41.4 percent of people received the benefits of recovery planning and counseling lectures conducted by NGOs (Lemon, Stanford, & Sawyer, 2016). These organizations had given an opportunity to access other community services in society or links for mental health care. As estimated in March 2010, the population fall under the 16-24 age group or 6200 individuals with a psychotic disorder were solely using mental health facilities provided via non-profit communities (Australian Government, n.a.). These organizations thoroughly support government policies and actively indulge legal procedures into their services. The service of helping people with nominal deeds and contributing to health care services are the common objectives for these organizations.

The value of engaging community in mental health initiatives like Mental Health Week

The mental health of people is of great significance for any country. Australia observes World Mental Health Day on the 10th of October annually. In the year 2017, the major focus for mental health day was on the “Mental health in the workplace”. The motivation behind organizing this event is to create general awareness among the other countries about the various mental health problems which are faced by the community. This also helps in encouraging a group of people to make collective efforts for supporting mental health. In such cases, where a large group of people is engaged in supporting a cause, enhanced results can be obtained. This is merely an opportunity for all the renowned persons who are putting their efforts on resolving issues on mental health to address the community and make them aware of their work. Also, they provide different mental health care solutions for the community over the world, which can be followed by individuals. The revolution in intelligent about the patient and stakeholder engagement has implications across different sectors offering mental health services. This leads to persuade other people also to join them. People from different backgrounds can be merged who can share their views and advice which can be very beneficial for the cause. Individual examples can be given to convince people about their results of following certain mental health care suggestions (Woolf, Zimmerman, Haley, & Krist, 2016).

As it is well known that at the workplace there are different kinds of pressure on employees which affect mental health in many terms. If not treated well then that frustration can be seen in other areas like at home etc. Every person has a different issue and a different perception of seeing that issue. Also, some people who are emotionally very weak cannot handle such pressure. It is of great value if people can share their problems with others without being shy and then solutions to those problems can be discussed and provided to them by experts. Others who are facing similar issues can also resolve their issues in the same way. This is done if more and more people are being engaged in mental health initiatives. In this way, with the assistance of events like Mental Health Week, people will also feel free to speak on such issues. Still, some people are not comfortable talking on such topics like mental disorders fearing that people will make fun of it. Many of the people are facing troubles like depression and anxiety disorders which are common nowadays, but, they fail to disclose and discuss the same.

The role and impact of the media and social media in mental health promotion

People with severe mental disorders are progressively utilizing media technologies like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and other social media platforms, to share their understandings or pursue assistance from others with similar mental problems. This practice is referred to as peer-to-peer support in mental health services (Naslund, Aschbrenner, Marsch, & Bartels, (2016). People also acquire information about world mental health events from media sources like newspapers, television, books, magazines, FM, movies, etc. The influence of social media on society can be positive and negative. Nowadays, every person is more or less linked to media and social media websites. People spent much of their time surfing on these websites. People of all ages are utilizing websites for different purposes. So, the awareness of mental health passed with the help of such mediums flow easily and rapidly worldwide. This is the most convenient and reliable means of changing people mental disorder perception. Also, it assists people in knowing who all are interested in discussing mental health issues over the world. So, video training sessions on mental health can be held in various parts of the world. Media also influences results in either reinforcement or change in people’s beliefs regarding mental health care. There can be no debate on the impact of social media or media on the behavior, thinking, and emotions of the society. Media plays a significant role in breaking the myths and misconceptions about dangerous diseases, so, it is thought that it can be helpful in case of mental health problems too. It helps in getting to know about the various responses of the community towards mental health care. Sometimes polls can also be created for supporting mental health care cause over a social media network. The communication media and websites also provide the number of reminders to users for attending mental health care events. This is an inexpensive way to reach out to more and more people worldwide. This can also be helpful for the mental health care event organizers to know about the number of people who are taking interest in these topics, since, these websites provide like button and also a place for their comment. In this comment section, people can post their views and advice on mental health care (Oppedal & Idsoe, 2015). Also, what future studies are needed to take care of the current lacking of high-quality proofs for reducing mental health symptoms can be discussed. These suggestions can then be followed for the betterment of mental health.


Overall this case study is based on the Mental Health week event of Australia which is organized every year through which various objectives of mental health care can be achieved. It focuses on the major concept of WHO regarding the mental health of the public. In the year 2017, the major concern of this event was mental health in the workplace. It is a challenge to deal with these issues as these issues are increasing day by day. The government of Australia works in partnership with the state to provide mental health care solutions worldwide. The funding responsibility and the modification of mental health care services are also well managed by the Australian Government. Any mental disorder will have an impact on our capability to work productively at work. Hence it is of great importance to make people aware of the consequences of mental health disorders. Many of the people are unknown to the fact that they are suffering from a mental health problem. So, it is very important to participate in mental health initiatives to deal with them. Despite there are challenges of utilizing social media and the risks associated, social media plays an important role in promoting mental wellbeing and reaching people worldwide.


Australian Government. (n.a.) The Department of Health. Retrieved from https://www1.health.gov.au/internet/publications/publishing.nsf/Content/mental-pubs-p-psych10-toc~mental-pubs-p-psych10-exe~mental-pubs-p-psych10-exe-non

Keynejad, R. C., Dua, T., Barbui, C., & Thornicroft, G. (2018). WHO Mental Health Gap Action Programme (mhGAP) Intervention Guide: a systematic review of evidence from low and middle-income countries. Evidence-based mental health21(1), 30-34.

Lemon, G., Stanford, S., & Sawyer, A. M. (2016). Trust and the Dilemmas of Suicide Risk Assessment in Non-government Mental Health Services. Australian Social Work69(2), 145-157.

Naslund, J. A., Aschbrenner, K. A., Marsch, L. A., & Bartels, S. J. (2016). The future of mental health care: peer-to-peer support and social media. Epidemiology and psychiatric sciences25(2), 113-122.

Oppedal, B., & Idsoe, T. (2015). The role of social support in the acculturation and mental health of unaccompanied minor asylum seekers. Scandinavian journal of psychology56(2), 203-211.

Roberts, R. (2017, October). Equally Well: Improving the physical health of people living with mental illness. In 9th Australian Rural and Remote Mental Health Symposium.

Semrau, M., Evans-Lacko, S., Alem, A., Ayuso-Mateos, J. L., Chisholm, D., Gureje, O., ... & Lund, C. (2015). Strengthening mental health systems in low-and middle-income countries: the Emerald programme. BMC medicine13(1), 79.

Whiteford, H. A., Meurk, C., Carstensen, G., Hall, W., Hill, P., & Head, B. W. (2016). How Did Youth Mental Health Make It Onto Australia’s 2011 Federal Policy Agenda?. Sage Open6(4), 2158244016680855.

Woolf, S. H., Zimmerman, E., Haley, A., & Krist, A. H. (2016). Authentic engagement of patients and communities can transform research, practice, and policy. Health Affairs35(4), 590-594.

World Health Organization. (2017). Mental helath. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/mental_health/mhgap/en/

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