Mental health problems are readily becoming recognized as a critical challenge in the health sector that hinders global development outcomes. Lack of proper delivery of health and social services in any country across the world is posing a great threat to the development plans as it poses a difficult to challenge to the health workers and stakeholders in many countries. Mental health conditions pose a great threat to the society as it impedes economic and social development. Therefore, it is important to help the government in every means to adopt effective mental health policies as well as facilitate their implementation. This study proposes that the general public and all the stakeholders in the health sector need to provide the governments with the support that can help adopt as well as implement the mental health policies across the world.
It is the responsibility of every government to ensure that its people access basic health including mental health services. Such responsibility includes adopting and ensuring that the adopted policies are effectively implemented. However, even though the government has all the resources, they also need support. Jenkins (2003) agrees that the government requires support from the general public and the stakeholders in adopting and implementing health policies.
This paper proposes that the general public and the stakeholders need to provide the government with all the support that they can offer to ensure that the government adopts and implements the mental health policies. Mental health conditions affect the government and the society at large. World Health Organization and Funk (2005) examine the link between mental health and work. According to the World Health Organization and Funk (2005), work is an essential part of people's adult life. The government benefits from people working by getting revenue to run their operations. However, when a huge chunk of the public is affected by mental health conditions, it is obvious that the government is losing and the society is also some significant development. As Dlouhy (2014) explains, both the government and the public underestimate the potential impact of the mental health conditions. According to Dlouhy (2014), mental health conditions affect over 25% of all people in the world at one point in their lives. World Health Organization (2018) asserts that mental health is more than absence; as such, there is a need to strengthen the response to the problem.
Lack of good leadership at all levels of the government has been cited as one of the key reasons that have significantly inhibited substantive change in the mental health policies of many countries. This has driven away from the resources that could be channeled to deal with the mental health challenges in the country. Mannan et al. (2013) agree that formulation and implementation of a policy and plan that controls and navigates the mental health systems is one of the critical steps towards delivering a judicious as well as comprehensive mental health care in a country. In accordance with the World Health Organization, mental health policy serves a critical role in defining the version for the country's future mental health of the general population. Such policy specifies the framework which needs to be implemented to control, manage and prevents mental health problems (World Health Organization, 2018). However, sometimes the government does not need to take all the blame. Policy adoption and implementation is not the responsibility of the government alone.
The public and other stakeholders have a critical role to play. Cooper and Aratani (2015) argue that the governments need to be encouraged to adopt and implement mental health policies. According to Cooper and Aratani (2015), this will facilitate early detection, prevention, and treatment of mental health problems. As Cooper and Aratani (2015) explain, all the stakeholders need to work together. In case of countries where there are different levels of government like the United States, leaders from both federal and state levels need to practice effective leadership skills, which include coordinating and supporting programs that aim at minimizing mental health problems. Effective leadership will ensure that there is policy coordination between the national and the regional authorities. With good and effective leadership at the federal level, both governments can work together to create a blueprint of effective healthcare practices. Rensburg and Fourie (2016) agree that mental illness is a global problem but the low and middle-income countries are the most victims die to unlimited resources and poor leadership, which is characterized by poor nature and strategic forms of integrated mental health care in those countries.
Lack of resources is one of the challenges that the health sector faces in almost every country, especially the low and middle-income countries. Countries like Namibia, a middle-income country, scarce resources have significantly contributed to the poor response to mental health service programs. World Health Organization (2005) cites that by 2005 when the first mental health policy was launched, Namibia had a population of 2.011 million with no mental health resources. There was no national mental health program as well as mental health budget. The budgetary allocations are done by the national government. Ashipala et al. (2016) argue that it is important to communicate with the policymakers to build their support for the implementation of the mental health policy in a country. Changing the nature and strategic forms towards mental health policy should begin with the involvement of all stakeholders and the government bodies involved in the healthcare provision. The involvement of these stakeholders more will ensure practical steps towards effective adoption and implementation of mental health policy.
The national government has the power to change all this. The government can address the shortages and gaps that need to be filled to ensure that the majority of the population continues to access rehabilitation services freely. Jenkins (2013) agrees that the political figures in the society have a critical role to play in adopting ad driving a national policy or strategy because they can bring the political will required in adopting and implementing a policy. However, the implementation process requires the participation of everyone. Policy adoption that affects the public requires public participation. This is the process where the public need to offer its unwavering support to the government to facilitate the policy adoption process. Further, during the implementation, the public needs to support the programs aimed at minimizing mental health conditions because it affects everyone either directly or indirectly. Other stakeholders like the health ministers can help in integrating the mental health into the whole health system (Jenkins, 2013). As Knickman et al. (2016) explain, mental health disorders affect people of all ages and demographics. It is therefore considered a burden to the whole society. As such, everyone needs to take part in eradicating a problem that affects the whole society. In America alone, it is estimated that over 18.1% of the adult population suffers from a mental disorder (Knickman et al., 2016). This means that this number of people suffering from mental illness is not productive and relies on other people or the government to survive. The U.S government is spending over $201 billion on mental health disorder (Knickman et al., 2016).
The World Health Organization has tried to involve and call upon its member countries to adopt and developmental health policies due to the increasing number of people suffering from mental health conditions and the potential impacts associated with the conditions (Jenkins, 2003). The Lancet (2014) explains that about 13% of the world population suffers from mental health conditions. However, despite the seriousness of the mental health-related conditions, many countries, especially developing countries, provide insufficient resources to the mental health programs. According to The Lancet (2014), developing countries provide less than 2% of health funding to the mental health-related programs. Developing countries like the UK have tried to design policies aimed at minimizing or controlling the mental health conditions. For example, in November 2014, the UK government launched a Mental Health for Sustainable Development report that was aimed at raising awareness and priority of the effects associated with mental health problems (The Lancet, 2014). If only other countries could be responding with such a haste and prioritize on the effects of mental health illness, the world could be moving towards reducing and controlling the impacts of mental health problems.
World Health Organization recommends three main policy changes that can assist countries to deal with a policy framework and service planning. The recommendations include developing strategic plans to deinstitutionalize the mental health care, integrate mental health into the general health care, and develop a community-based mental health service (World Health Organization, 2018). Every across the world can effectively implement these three recommendations through a decentralized system where more resources will be taken to the regional areas where many people can feel the impact. This will also facilitate the stakeholders' consultation within the country. Every citizen in a country has a right to access better health care services irrespective of whether the country is a low income, middle-income, or high-income nation. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the government to ensure that its citizens have access to basic and quality mental health care services by adopting policies that can protect the establishment of mental health support programs. However, in ensuring that the government fulfills its mandate, there are other players that also need to play their part as well. The general public and other healthcare stakeholders such as health ministers need to ensure that they play their individual role in ensuring that the government gets the support to adopt and implement mental health policies.
In conclusion, mental health conditions continue to be recognized as a serious health problem and an impediment to social and economic development across the world. For the low and middle-income countries, the problem poses a great threat to future development. Based on this study, lack of effective leadership has been highlighted as one of the key inhibitors to adopting and implementing mental health policies and significantly reduced the chances to deal with the mental health problems across many countries in the world. This paper has proposed that the general public and other stakeholders like the health ministers need to provide their unwavering support to the government to facilitate the process of adopting and implementing the mental health policy and services as a way to enhance the process of reducing the effects of mental illnesses. As shown in the discussion, many countries do not prioritize on mental health policies. As a result, the majority of the countries including the developed nations like the U.S and U.K lack proper mental health programs or sufficient budgetary allocation. A collaboration and coordination between the government and the general public as well as the private will ensure that all the stakeholders from the national to regional levels are actively involved in drafting and implementing mental health policies.
Ashipala, D. O., Wilkinson, W., & van Dyk, A. (2016). Mental health policy implementation as an integral part of primary health care services in Oshana region, Namibia. Journal of N...
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