WHO South-East Asia Journal of Public Health
  • 513
  • Home
  • Print this page
  • Email this page
Home About us Editorial board Search Ahead of print Current issue Archives Submit article Instructions Subscribe Contacts Login 
Year : 2015  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 110-122

Opportunities and obstacles in child and adolescent mental health services in low- and middle-income countries: a review of the literature

Northeastern Institute of Child and Adolescent Mental Health, Khon Kaen, Thailand

Correspondence Address:
Dutsadee Juengsiragulwit
Northeastern Institute of Child and Adolescent Mental Health, Tambon Pralub, Muang District, Khon Kaen
Login to access the Email id

DOI: 10.4103/2224-3151.206680

PMID: 28607309

Rights and Permissions

Lower-income, less developed countries have few child and adolescent mental health professionals and a low availability of paediatric community mental health care. Child mental health professionals in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) must therefore balance comprehensive tertiary care for the minority and provision of child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) within primary health care to serve the majority. This review aimed to identify the obstacles to, and opportunities for, providing CAMHS in LMICs. Articles from PsychInfo and PubMed, published up to November 2011, were retrieved using the search terms “child and adolescent”, “mental health services”, “child psychiatry”, “low- and middle-income countries”, “low-income countries” and “developing countries”. Articles were then retrieved from PubMed alone, using these search terms plus the individual country names of 154 LMICs. Fifty-four articles were retrieved from PsychInfo and 632 from PubMed. Searching PubMed with 154 LMIC names retrieved seven related articles. Inclusion criteria were (i) articles relating to CAMHS or child psychiatric services; (ii) subjects included in the articles were inhabitants of LMICs or developing countries; (iii) articles reported in English. After removal of duplicates, 22 articles remained. The contents of these articles were categorized and analysed by use of the six domains of the World Health Organization assessment instrument for mental health systems (WHO-AIMS), a tool developed to collect information on available resources within mental health systems. The provision of CAMHS in LMICs clearly needs a specific strategy to maximize the potential of limited resources. Mental health-policy and awareness campaigns are powerful measures to drive CAMHS. Training in CAMH for primary health-care professionals, and integration of CAMHS into existing primary health-care services, is essential in resource-constrained settings. A wide gap in research into CAMHS still needs to be filled. To overcome these challenges, the child mental health professional’s role in LMICs must encompass both clinical and public-health-related activities.

Print this article     Email this article
 Next article
 Previous article
 Table of Contents

 Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
 Related articles
 Citation Manager
 Access Statistics
 Reader Comments
 Email Alert *
 Add to My List *
 * Requires registration (Free)

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded355    
    Comments [Add]    
    Cited by others 15    

Recommend this journal