What we do

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What we do

We provide advice, as well as technical and programmatic support to 22 countries in WHO’s Eastern Mediterranean Region, to strengthen their response to addressing mental health, neurological and substance use disorders. We support the development and implementation of evidence-based and feasible interventions, to promote mental health, prevent and manage mental health, neurological and substance use disorders and rehabilitate individuals with these disorders, while ensuring respect for human rights and social protection.

The rates of mental health disorders, specifically depressive illness and anxiety disorders are high in countries of the Region.

The rates of drug use in some countries are much higher than the global average.

Our goal

To promote mental well-being, prevent mental health disorders, provide care, enhance recovery, promote human rights and reduce the mortality, morbidity and disability for persons with mental health disorders.

Scale up care and treatment

We have a wealth of evidence-based tools and guidance to help you respond to the rising burden of mental health and substance use disorders in the Region, which is largely accounted for by the prevailing emergency situations. Here are our key tools and guidance, which are cost-effective, feasible and affordable.

Mental health action plan 2013-2020 (extended to 2030)

The action plan recognizes the essential role of mental health in achieving health for all people. It is based on a life-course approach, aims to achieve equity through universal health coverage and stresses the importance of prevention. To successfully scale up action, here is what’s needed: more effective leadership and governance for mental health; the provision of comprehensive, integrated mental health and social care services in community-based settings; implementation of strategies for promotion and prevention; and strengthened information systems, evidence and research.

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mhGAP action programme

The mhGAP package consists of interventions for prevention and management for each of these priority conditions: depression, schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders, suicide, epilepsy, dementia, disorders due to use of alcohol, disorders due to use of illicit drugs, and mental disorders in children. To successfully scale up action, joint efforts are needed from: governments, health professionals, civil society, communities, and families, with support from the international community.

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Regional framework to scale up action on mental health in the Region

The regional framework will help countries scale up action on mental health in the Eastern Mediterranean Region. The framework identifies cost-effective, affordable and feasible strategic interventions across four domains: governance; health care; promotion and prevention; and surveillance, monitoring and research. It also provides a set of indicators to monitor progress in implementing the interventions.

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Regional framework for action to strengthen the public health response to substance use

The regional framework will help countries strengthen their public health response to the problem of substance use. The framework identifies cost-effective, affordable and feasible strategic interventions across five domains: governance; health sector response; promotion and prevention; monitoring and surveillance; and international cooperation. It also provides a set of indicators to monitor progress in implementing the interventions.

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More on Mental Health and Substance Use programme

The WHO Mental Health and Substance Use programme is one of several technical programmes in the Department of Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health at the WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean in Cairo, Egypt. The Programme is managed by a regional adviser, who is based in the Regional Office. The adviser works closely with core teams, including communications and surveillance, as well as with WHO headquarters in Geneva, other regional offices in Africa, the Americas, Europe, South-East Asia and the Western Pacific, as well as 22 country offices, ministries of health, collaborating centres and national and international partners, as well as individuals and communities to:

enhance social, human and material capital to achieve the highest level of mental health and optimum development.

strengthen leadership and political commitment.

scale up delivery of integrated, inclusive mental health services across the continuum of care.

promote integration of mental health and substance use components in health and social care systems.

strengthen capacities for delivery of essential community-based mental health care supported by secondary and tertiary care mental health services.

support scaling up of mental health and psychosocial support in complex emergencies, especially for vulnerable population groups.

promote resilience of communities and health systems to support peace and development.

increase the public's awareness of mental health, substance use and other mainstream-related programmes.

establish information and data collection systems and promote research to bolster the evidence base.

WHO Collaborating Centres

5 institutions in 4 countries supporting WHO’s Mental Health and Substance Use programme

WHO collaborating centres are institutions such as research institutes, parts of universities or academies, which are designated by the Regional Director to carry out activities in support of the Organization's programmes. Currently, there are five WHO collaborating centres in four countries working with WHO on the areas of mental health and substance use.

National Rehabilitation Centre, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Iranian National Center for Addiction Studies (INCAS), Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran

Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran Institute of Psychiatry, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran

Psychiatric Centre, Ibn Rushd University, Casablanca, Morocco

Institute of Psychiatry, Rawalpindi General Hospital, Rawalpindi Medical College, Rawalpindi, Pakistan

Related links

WHO regional collaborating centres

WHO global collaborating centres

WHO collaborating centres database

Contact the Regional Office team

Ms Nisreen Abdel Latif, WHO Communications, Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health

Dr Khalid Saeed
Regional Adviser
Mental Health and Substance Use
Work: +2 02 227 65368
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Dr Khalid Saeed, Regional Adviser, Mental Health and Substance Use

Ms Nisreen Abdel Latif
WHO Communications
Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health
Work: +202 227 65072
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it