The Mental Health Education Gap among Primary Care Providers in Rural Nepal
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In low- and middle-income countries, the majority of individuals with mental illness go untreated largely because of a severe shortage of mental health professionals. Global initiatives to close the mental health treatment gap focus on primary care providers delivering this care. For this to be effective, primary care providers require the skills to assess, diagnose, and treat patients with mental illness.
To assess primary care providers’ training and experience in caring for mental health patients, the authors conducted five focus groups at three isolated district hospitals in rural Nepal where there was no access to mental health professionals.
Primary care providers reported limited training, lack of knowledge and skills, and discomfort in delivering mental health care.
To address the mental health education gap, primary care providers in Nepal, and perhaps other low- and middle-income countries, require more training during both undergraduate and graduate medical education.
KeywordsGlobal Mental Health Education Nepal Task-shifting Needs Assessment
We thank all the participants for sharing their opinions and experiences. We would like to thank the research site, Possible (http://possiblehealth.org), for supporting the study and allowing us to conduct our research. Bibhav Acharya, MD was supported by National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) grant R25MH060482-14. NIMH had no role in the design, analysis, or publication of the study. The authors thank Scott Halliday with Possible for his help with research coordination and manuscript development.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.
The study received IRB approval from the University of California, San Francisco (#066667) and the Nepal Health Research Council (#288/2014).
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