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Public policy and mental health 

Public policy and mental health
Public policy and mental health

Matt Muijen

and Andrew McCulloch

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date: 03 July 2022

Public policy, and specifically national public policy, is one of the key factors that affects the practice of psychiatry, the shape of mental health services, and the environment within which mental health services work. The specific content of public policy varies greatly across the world and often even across neighbouring countries. It is therefore impossible within the space of this chapter to undertake systematic international comparisons. This chapter gives an overview of: (a) what policy is and why it might be important; (b) types of policy and policy development internationally; (c) international structures and organizations that are relevant to the scope and content of policy, especially in the field of human rights which is often the starting point for policy; (d) the breadth of policy activity that is relevant to mental health—stretching beyond the health ministry and health policy—and the partnerships that are necessary to tackle the mental health of individuals and populations.

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