Universal Health Coverage for Schizophrenia: A Global Mental Health Priority


The growing momentum towards a global consensus on universal health coverage, alongside an acknowledgment of the urgency and importance of a comprehensive mental health action plan, offers a unique opportunity for a substantial scale-up of evidence-based interventions and packages of care for a range of mental disorders in all countries.

There is a robust evidence base testifying to the effectiveness of drug and psychosocial interventions for people with schizophrenia and to the feasibility, acceptability and cost-effectiveness of the delivery of these interventions through a collaborative care model in low resource settings.

While there are a number of barriers to scaling up this evidence, for eg, the finances needed to train and deploy community based workers and the lack of agency for people with schizophrenia, the experiences of some upper middle income countries show that sustained political commitment, allocation of transitional financial resources to develop community services, a commitment to an integrated approach with a strong role for community based institutions and providers, and a progressive realization of coverage are the key ingredients for scale up of services for schizophrenia.