Short Title

Annex WHO resources for mental and substance use disorders

Mental health guidelines

  • Management of physical health conditions in adults with severe mental disorders: WHO guidelines (1)
  • WHO Website: WHO Mental Health Gap Action Programme (mhGAP) (2)
  • mhGAP Intervention Guide for mental, neurological and substance use disorders in non-specialized health settings: mental health Gap Action Programme - Version 2.0 (3)

Brief biological interventions

4.4 Multimorbidity and TB-associated disabilities

TB often occurs along with other illnesses – not only mental disorders but also HIV, diabetes, hypertension and other conditions (70). These comorbidities are also independently associated with a higher risk of mental health problems (71). Health workers in TB and mental health services should endeavor to understand each person’s main priorities and concerns and support the treatment of both TB and mental disorders in order to comprehensively address the person’s needs.

4.3 Homelessness

Individuals who are homeless or in temporary housing have a significantly greater risk of exposure to TB, developing active TB and acquiring drug resistance (68); as well as an increased likelihood of having a mental health condition (69). Assessment of their situation and related socioeconomic risk factors is required (such as poor quality or no housing, low or no income), followed by referral to the necessary support (such as social care or financial, housing or employment support). Ongoing close monitoring then is needed to provide people-centred services.

4.2 Palliative care

Psychological support is a critical element of palliative care where the overall goal is to relieve pain and distress and sustain a person’s well-being. Psychological support needs to be tailored to local settings with a culturally sensitive approach and respect for individual values and beliefs. Moreover, caregivers and health care providers providing palliative care frequently experience psychological distress themselves, for which psychological support can be beneficial (67).

4.1 Stigma

Stigma refers to negative attitudes that involve discriminatory actions towards, for example, people who are receiving treatment for TB or towards those living with mental health conditions. Unfortunately, this is very common, and this stigma can result in serious violations of human rights (66). Since TB and mental health conditions can affect people who are socially vulnerable, health-related stigma and discrimination can exacerbate other social stigmas which can adversely affect a person’s personal, social, health and financial well-being.

3.5 Suicidal behaviours

Over 700 000 people a year die by suicide worldwide (64). One of the four key interventions in WHO’s LIVE LIFE: An implementation guide for suicide prevention in countries (65) is the early identification of anyone affected by suicidal behaviours, and their assessment, management and follow-up. Suicidal behaviours include suicidal thoughts (or ideation), plans of suicide, suicide attempts and suicide.

3.4 Substance use disorders

Substance use disorders (both alcohol and drug use disorders) comprise two major health conditions: “harmful substance use” and “dependence”. Harmful substance use is defined as a pattern of continuous, recurrent or sporadic use of a psychoactive substance that has caused clinically significant damage to a person’s physical or mental health. Dependence is defined as a disorder of regulation of psychoactive substance use arising from repeated or continuous use.

3.3 Psychoses

People with mental disorders (such as schizophrenia, which is characterized by symptoms of psychoses) are at greater risk than the general population for exposure to infectious diseases, including TB (51). Psychosis is characterized by distorted thoughts and perceptions, disturbed emotions and behaviours, and the possibility of incoherent or irrelevant speech (see Table 1).