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Mental health clinic in Thua Thien Province

Mental health in Vietnam

Vietnam has a commendable National Mental Health Programme (NMHP) in place; however, the services available currently cover only 30% of communes and treatment is available only for schizophrenia and epilepsy. Services are predominantly offered through hospitals rather than through community based care which the WHO recommends is more effective, have a greater reach and are less expensive. Hospitals at a commune level have only a few often poorly trained staff able to provide mental health care. Treatment is limited to medication of the patient, with no counselling or other services made available. Through BasicNeeds’ work, Generalized Anxiety Disorder (“GAD”) was added to the list of mental illnesses eligible for treatment through the National Health Programme. GAD generally includes most depression related mental health illnesses.

Our work

We began operating in Vietnam in 2011 and since then over 11,600 people with mental illness or epilepsy, their carers and family members have been through our programme.

Our holistic mental health and development services are delivered through:

BasicNeeds Vietnam

BasicNeeds has been working in Vietnam from 2011 to 2014. An end of project evaluation has shown positive changes to mental health provision and to the experiences of those living with mental health conditions in the Thua Thien Province. The project has also involved building the capacity of local partners including health authorities to implement the BasicNeeds Model, as well as raising awareness of mental health issues at every level of society. In the beginning of 2015, the programme transitioned to a new independent local organisation called the Research Centre for Mental Health and Community Development which aims to expand, replicate and promote BasicNeeds’ successful community-based approach to mental health services in Vietnam.

Tam“Our aim is not just to bring medical treatment to people with mental illness, but to bring people with mental illness out of the darkness and isolation, and to empower them. We are so proud that many of our participants in Vietnam share with us that their lives have improved greatly, they feel much more confident as they are able to make a contribution to their families and communities.” Tam Nguyen, BasicNeeds Vietnam Programme Manager.

Recent projects:

Providing community based services for service users in the 15 communes in Thua Thien Hue province

Community services under this project included screening, diagnosis, treatment, social support, and livelihood support for service users in the 15 communes in Thua Thien Hue province. The Provincial Health Department, the Provincial Psychiatric Hospital, community health workers, and Women’s Unions at the provincial, district, commune and village level were involved in the project. Impact on participants included: improved quality of life – reduced symptoms, more social connections and support, better medication, improved socio-economic status and better knowledge of their problems and how to manage their illness. The NMHP considers learning from this project and accordingly revising the design of the national programme. On the recommendation of BasicNeeds, NMHP have now included Generalized Anxiety Disorder (“GAD”) to the list of mental illnesses eligible for treatment through the programme.

Our impact to date

As of December 2015, 11,660 people including those affected by mental illnesses, their carers and family members have been supported through our programme in Vietnam.

Contact information

Research Centre for Mental Health and Community Development
Room 1102b, 8C Building
Ta Quang Buu Street
Hai Ba Trung District

Tel no.: +84 (04) 3868 3497
Fax: +84 (04) 3868 3497
Email: [email protected]

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