Mental health in Zimbabwe: a health systems analysis.

01 Nov 2017
Kidia K, Machando D, Mangezi W, Hendler R, Crooks M, Abas M, Chibanda D, Thornicroft G, Semrau M, Jack H

There has been little external analysis of Zimbabwe's mental health system. We did a systems analysis to identify bottlenecks and opportunities for mental health service improvement in Zimbabwe and to generate cost-effective, policy-relevant solutions. We combined in-depth interviews with a range of key stakeholders in health and mental health, analysis of mental health laws and policies, and publicly available data about mental health. Five themes are key to mental health service delivery in Zimbabwe: policy and law; financing and resources; criminal justice; workforce, training, and research; and beliefs about mental illness. We identified human resources, rehabilitation facilities, psychotropic medication, and community mental health as funding priorities. Moreover, we found that researchers should prioritise measuring the economic impact of mental health and exploring substance use, forensic care, and mental health integration. Our study highlights forensic services as a central component of the mental health system, which has been a neglected concept. We also describe a tailored process for mental health systems that is transferable to other low-income settings and that garners political will, builds capacity, and raises the profile of mental health.