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Mental Health Gap Action Programme




Mental Health




Learn the essentials of the Mental Health Gap programme, which aims to scale up care for mental, neurological and substance abuse problems.

In this POLHN self-paced program, you will learn the basic concepts required to address and manage mental health issues, some of the leading causes of disability and mortality.

This course begins with an introduction to what the mental health gap is and why it is such an important topic. Next, students will go deeper into the different mental health conditions that exist, before ending with how to deal with issues such as suicide and epileptic seizures.

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.

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

Getting Started

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: Introduction

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: Depression

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: Psychosis

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: General Youth Framework

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: Developmental Disorders

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: Behavioral Disorders

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.

Module - 7: Dementia

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: Alcohol-use Disorder

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.

Module - 9: Drugs-use Disorders

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: Self-harm/Suicide

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: Other Significant Emotional and Medical Unexplained Somatic Symptoms (OTH)

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.

Module - 12: Epilepsy/Seizures
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.

Pacific NCDs and Health Through the Life course

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 System
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Course Questions & Answers

Can't find the answers you're looking for? Get in touch with POLHN! Contact us here and we will respond to your enquiry as soon as possible.
Yes, this course has recommended and additional readings. These can all be easily accessed on Moodle.
There is no time limit for completing this course. POLHN recommends spending about 4 hours per week over the period of 6 weeks.
Once you enrol yourself into this course on Moodle you will have access to all the lectures and assignments.
Once you successfully complete your course by completing all the modules and passing all the assessment, your certificate will be automatically generated and sent to your email. You can also access all your certificates through our online certificate verification system here: If you are having any problems accessing your certificate, simply email us at and we will help you.

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.

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This online course is related to management of mental health issues. It explains the essentials of the Mental Health Gap Action Programme, which aims to scale up care for mental, neurological and substance-abuse problems.

Mental Health Gap Action Programme

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