The mental health context
The WHO has developed a mental health policy and service guidance package to help implement the policy recommendations of the World Health Report 2001: "Mental Health: New Understanding, New Hope". The package consists of a series of inter-related and user-friendly modules designed to address the wide variety of needs and priorities in policy development and service planning. Each module addresses a core aspect of mental health.; This introductory module describes the global context of mental health. Beginning with an outline of the burden of mental disorders, the module sets the stage by describing the historical background to the current situation and summarizing developments in the understanding, treatment and care of people with mental disorders. An analysis is provided of trends in global health reform and their implications for mental health. To illustrate how these global trends can be addressed by governments and to introduce the reader to the guidance package, a summary is then provided of the module.