Integrating Tuberculosis and Mental Health Services: Global Receptivity of National Tuberculosis Program Directors

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anxiety, depression, patient-centered care, psychosis, substance use disorders

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Setting: A global survey of National Tuberculosis Program (NTP) directors.

Objectives: To assess the perceived mental health needs of persons with tuberculosis (TB), current practices, and receptivity to integrating evidence-based mental and substance use treatment into national TB guidelines.

Design: Semi-structured survey of NTP directors from 26 countries of all income levels using a standardized questionnaire.

Results: Of the 26 countries, 21 were classified as high incidence and/or burden countries for TB, TB and human immunodeficiency virus coinfection, and/or drug-resistant TB. Two NTPs included routine screening for any mental disorder, four assessed alcohol or drug use, and five had standard protocols for the co-management of disorders. If effective and low-cost integrated care models were available, 17 NTP directors felt that it was highly likely, and five somewhat likely, that their NTPs would integrate mental health treatment into national TB guidelines and services. The main perceived barriers to service integration were limited capacity, not recognizing mental health as a problem, insufficient resources, and TB-related social stigma.

Conclusions: NTPs currently do not address mental disorders as part of routine practice. Nevertheless, receptivity is high, which creates a ripe opportunity to integrate the management of TB and mental disorders into the policies and guidelines of NTPs worldwide.

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The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, v. 5, p. 600-605