AQUITY along with its partner organizations integrates and strengthens Mental Health services.
As we mark today the World Mental Health Day, access to quality mental health (MH) services remains a challenge in most low- and middle-income countries.
A number of published studies have shown that the mental health and substance abuse related comorbidities reduce the efficacy of HIV treatment outcomes due to PLHIV dropping out or discontinuing or lacking adherence with the treatment protocols. Stigma, lack of awareness about mental health services and access to quality MH are some of the major barriers affecting PLHIV needing MH support.
Similarly, primary health care facilities often do not screen for mental health issues regularly among PLHIV or general patient populations, thereby, leading to further reductions in outcomes of the health programs. During the last year, COVID situation has made it worse given that many health care workers are also facing their own mental health issues due to stress and anxiety, resulting in high levels of absenteeism and burnout. Again, most healthcare workers do not have access to MH services to counter anxiety, depression and burn-out resulting in increased absenteeism and poor performance at work.