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Mental Health Gap Action Programme

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This online, self-paced and moderated course has been developed by POLHN for the health workers intending to complete a professional certificates related to management of mental health issues, a major factor in disabilities and mortality across the globe. The students shall be able to learn the essentials of the mental health Gap (mhGAP) program, which aims to scale-up care for mental, neurological and substance-abuse problems.

Key Features of the Course

After the completion of this course, the students shall be able to understand:

  • Strategies for the establishment of communication and building of trust
  • Different mental health conditions prevalent across the globe
  • The physical conditions underlying these mental health conditions
  • How to protect the user of various psychotic drugs from drug abuse and self-harm
  • Tools for the establishment of the basic psychological support levels
  • First-line medication treatment
  • Brief motivational interventions
  • Management of clinical emergencies
  • Follow-up and referral systems


Mental Health Gap Action Programme (mhGAP) aims to scale up care for priority mental, neurological and substance use conditions (such as depression, psychosis, alcohol use, and suicide/self-harm). mhGAP Intervention Guide (mhGAP-IG) is a clinical protocol for management of priority mental health conditions by non-specialist health care providers. POLHN has developed mhGAP training materials (slides, videos, and tasks) to reach out to the participant in the Pacific Island countries. The main targets of this course are health workers and health professionals in primary and secondary healthcare settings. Moreover, this training has been developed as a moderated course, which means there will be a moderator assigned to the students for monitoring the progress, evaluation of assignments and provision of advice.
As the name indicates, this section has been designed to allow the students to test their background knowledge of the subject area.
Module 1 provides an introduction into the issue and includes the topics such as what is mhGAP action programme, why training regarding mental, neurological and substance use disorders is important, the mhGAP intervention guide, the general principles of care, and the key action strategies.
Module 2 deals with depression, one of the most prevalent mental health issues of today, a major contributor to lost productivity, and at its worst, other serious mental health disorders, physical harm, and suicides. Topics such as what is depression, why scaling-up care for depression-related illnesses should be a priority, and various stages involved in the care of depression will be covered.
Module 3 covers topics such as psychosis, its natural history, stigmas, discrimination and human rights violations associated with psychosis, and various factors involved in the management of psychosis.
Module 4 is essentially a base module explaining the significant impact of mental, neurological, and substance use disorders in children and adolescents, and the strategies to manage such situations.
Module 5 is concerned with the topics such as child development, domains of child development, various developmental disorders, social impact of developmental disorders, and the different components of the strategy to tackle these issues.
Module 6 encompasses the discussion regarding behavioral disorders such as bipolar disorder, and attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and the coping strategies involved in their management.
As is evident from the name, module 7 covers aspects related to dementia, such as its types, stages, causes, and strategies for the management of dementia, and dementia-associated disorders.
Module 8 is centered around alcohol use and alcohol-use disorders, and the effect of alcohol use on health. Moreover, the strategies for management of such disorders are also discussed.
Drug use and drug-use disorders are the main focus in Module 9. Moreover, the classes of drugs i.e. opioids, benzodiazapines, cannabis, and other stimulants, as well as the management strategies undertaken to resolve the issues are discussed.
Module 10 deals with the issues of self-harm and suicide, factors that could induce such feelings, and the management strategies for coping in a better way.
Module 11 moves the focus on to other significant or medical unexplained somatic (physical) symptoms or complaints, such as adjustment disorder, somatoform disorder, mild depression or dysthymia, anxiety disorders, and their management strategies.
The last module of this course (module 12) encompasses discussions regarding seizures and epilepsy, social beliefs, and stigmas associated with these episodes, types of epilepsy, significance from the perspective of mental and physical wellbeing, and the management strategies concerned with such conditions.
This section includes another test that the students can attempt after the completion of all the modules and the pretest, for testing the learning gains from this course.
Important: In order to access the completion certificate, the students need to complete the feedback, course evaluation and survey forms. Please click on the following links to submit these forms.

How It Works

Study Material

This self-paced course has been designed in a manner that enhances understanding of the core concepts and provides easy to access learning materials. The course uses a range of study material such as pre-recorded videos, lecture slides, quizzes and assignments, and is developed by a team of dedicated health education experts.

Getting Help

Connect with other students through the discussion forum, where you can easily discuss the course or debate the ideas. Need more help? Your instructors are also available online to answer any questions you might have.

Extend Your Career with a Verified Certificate

POLHN self-paced courses are recognised by Pacific Ministries of Health. Once you have successfully completed the course, you will receive an official certificate. This certificate can be used for credit to gain CPD points.

Course Questions & Answers

Course Summary

Course code: mhGAP
Average module length: 12 weeks
Total course time: 2 hours per week
Number of modules: 12
Institution: POLHN
Subject: Mental Health
Language: English
Mode: Self-paced
Status: Ongoing

Course Author

Pacific NCDs and Health Through the Life Course

Division of Pacific Technical Support

World Health Organisation | Division of Pacific Technical Support | Suva, Fiji

POLHN has dedicated public health professionals in its DPS research team who have decade long experiences in Health Security and Emergencies, NCDs and Health Through the Life course, and Health Systems.

Course Focal Point

Pacific NCDs and Health Through the Life Course

Technical Support

POLHN IT Support Team

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