Original Article

Specialized Outpatient Services: Community Mental Health Centers (CMHCs)

Abstract

Objective: The Iranian Mental Health Survey (IranMHS) in 2011 has demonstrated that almost 1 out of 4 adult individuals suffer from psychiatric disorders; however, more than two-thirds are left unrecognized and untreated and many of the services have poor quality of care. In this paper we present our experience in developing and employing community-based mental health services through community mental health centers (CMHCs), which has been incorporated in Iran's comprehensive mental and social health services (the Seraj program).
Method: The service model of the CMHCs was developed though an evidence-based service planning approach and was then incorporated as the specialized outpatient services model into the Seraj program in 2015.
Results: The CMHCs in the Seraj program provide mental health care to patients with common mental and severe mental disorders in a defined catchment area. The services include the collaborative care, the aftercare, and day rehabilitation. The collaborative care model works with primary care providers in the health centers to provide detection and treatment of common mental illnesses. In the aftercare, services are offered to patients with severe mental disorders following discharge from the hospital and include telephone follow-ups and home visits. Day rehabilitation is mostly focused on providing psychoeducation and skill trainings. During the first 4 years of implementation in 2 pilot areas, more than 6200 patients (10% having severe mental disorders) received care at CMHCs.
Conclusion: The main challenge of the implementation of the CMHC component in the Seraj program is to secure funds and employ skilled personnel. We need to incorporate Seraj in the existing national health system, and if successful, it can fill the treatment gap that has been so huge in the country.

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IssueVol 16 No 1 (2021) QRcode
SectionOriginal Article(s)
Published2020-12-05
DOI https://doi.org/10.18502/ijps.v16i1.5383
Keywords
Aftercare Collaborative Care Community Mental Health Center Day Rehabilitation Primary Health Care

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How to Cite
1.
Sharifi V, Hajebi A, Damari B, Mohammadjafari A. Specialized Outpatient Services: Community Mental Health Centers (CMHCs). Iran J Psychiatry. 16(1):87-93.