Key WHO publications: Policy and programmes

The World Health Organisation (WHO)has created several key research reports, tools and manuals that are of great importance and steer the international, national and local work on the prevention of suicide and mental ill-health. On this page we have listed some of the key documents and the links to the document and relevant web pages.

WHO: Mental Health

Link to the start page of WHO World Mental Health
Link to WHO Europe

Comprehensive mental health action plan 2013-2020

Mental Health Action Plan 2013-2020WHOs comprehensive mental health action plan 2013-2020 has now been adopted by the 66th World Health Assembly. The action plan is the outcome of extensive global and regional consultations over the last year with a broad array of stakeholders including: 135 Member States; 60 WHO CCs and other academic centres; 76 NGOs and 17 other stakeholders and experts.

Comprehensive mental health action plan 2013-2020
News from WHO Mental Health


Primary care

Integrating mental health into primary care: A global perspective 2008

Readers will find out how providing mental health care into primary health care settings produces better health outcomes. Primary care for mental health is affordable, and investments can bring important benefits.

Pharmacological treatment of mental disorders in primary health care

This manual attempts to provide simple, adequate and evidence-based information to health care professionals in primary health care especially in low- and middle-income countries to be able to provide pharmacological treatment to persons with mental disorders.

mhGAP Mental Health Gap Action Programme: Scaling up care for mental, neurological, and substance use disorders

mhGAP is WHOs action plan to scale up services for mental, neurological and substance use disorders for countries especially with low and lower middle incomes. The priority conditions addressed by mhGAP are: depression, schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders, suicide, epilepsy, dementia, disorders due to use of alcohol, disorders due to use of illicit drugs, and mental disorders in children. The mhGAP package consists of interventions for prevention and management for each of these priority conditions.

Secondary care

IASC Guidelines for Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings

Initiated by WHO; these Inter-Agency Standing Committee Guidelines enable humanitarian actors to plan, establish and coordinate a set of minimum multi-sectoral responses to protect and improve peoples mental health and psychosocial well-being in the midst of an emergency.

Health policy, planning and legislation

WHO RESOURCE BOOK on Mental Health, Human rights and Legislation: Stop exclusion, dare to care. 2005

A variety of individuals, organizations and government departments are likely to find this Resource Book useful. More specifically, it is aimed at those directly involved in drafting or amending mental-health-related legislation, as well as those responsible for guiding the law through the adoption and implementation process.

The WHO mental health policy and service guidance package: Checklists and 14 user-friendly modules to support policy development

The package consists of a series of interrelated user-friendly modules that are designed to address the wide variety of needs and priorities in policy development and service planning. The topic of each module represents a core aspect of mental health.


Through Childrens eyes A collection of drawings and stories from the WHO Global School Contest on Mental Health (2001)

Manual for people working with children in school, health care, in the communities etc. Easily accessible information on different mental health topics like sadness, depression and anxiety. Contains drawings and personal stories from children in the WHO contest.

WHO: Suicide Prevention (SUPRE)

Safer Access to Pesticides: Community Interventions
Prevention of Suicidal Behaviours: Feasibility Demonstration Projects on Community Interventions for Safer Access to Pesticides
Clinical Management of Acute Pesticide Intoxication: Prevention of Suicidal Behaviours
Suicide and Suicide Prevention in Asia
Effectiveness of brief intervention and contact for suicide attempters: a randomized controlled trial in five countries
Preventing Suicide: a resource series
Impact of economic crises on mental health

The economic crisis is expected to produce secondary mental health effects that may increase suicide and alcohol death rates. However, the mental health effects of the economic crisis can be offset by social welfare and other policy measures.

Mental Ill-Health