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Welfare Reform on the Web (September 2011): Mental health services - overseas

Decision-makers, donors and data: factors influencing the development of mental health and psychosocial policy in the Solomon Islands

A.B. Zwi and others

Health Policy and Planning, vol.26, 2011, p. 338-348

The Solomon Islands experienced widespread armed conflict between 1998 and 2003. In 2003, Australia and a range of other countries were invited to establish the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI) to defuse the situation. RAMSI sought to strengthen governance, stabilise government finances and operations, revitalise the courts, rebuild the prison system and strengthen the police service. In the health sector, Australian engagement was focused through the Health Institutional Strengthening Project. This research sought to examine how, and by whom psychosocial and mental health needs were identified and responses determined in the Solomon Islands after the experience of internal conflict. Policy shifts in the Solomon Islands reflect incremental change, built upon established concern with mental health issues, reinforced by advocacy on the part of local and international key players, external support and the broader post-conflict context. Policy change has been driven by multiple factors including socio-cultural issues, bureaucratic motivation, research and evidence, external factors including international aid, and political, security and economic concerns.

Residential and community support

R.I. Brown and T.R. Parmenter (editors)

Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, vol.55, 2011, p. 719-821+ p. 823-944

There has been an increase in the number of babies with disabilities who survive into older age. ‘Families, particularly mothers, are seen as the primary carers of such children across the lifespan within the home. The advent and promotion of normalisation has led to the decline of institutions and congregate residential settings for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. These special issues draw together articles analysing community and residential support programmes for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities from adolescence to older age.

Qat consumption in Yemen: knowledge and practice of mental health policy makers and other stakeholders

R. Jenkins and N.S. Aldeen

Journal of Public Mental Health, vol. 10, no.2, 2011, p. 110-114

There are major concerns about the effects of use of Qat on individual physical and mental health and on families, workplaces and the wider society. This paper reports findings of a workshop on the impact and control of Qat held in Yemen with senior mental health policymakers, professionals and leaders of mental health NGOs as part of a wider conference on the development of a national mental health strategy in February 2010. Participants had a clear understanding of the adverse effects of Qat consumption on physical and mental health, but all but one were regular users. This suggests that awareness of Qat’s harmful impact is not enough to change behaviour even in senior leaders and that more significant interventions will be needed to curtail consumption in Yemen.

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