Community Mental Health Services in Pakistan: Review Study From Muslim World 2000-2015

Tahir Mahmood Ali, Sana Gul


Aim: This study attempted to analyse the potential of two primary sources of mental health service delivery at a grassroots level, religious/faith healers and community/lady health workers, and how they can be effectively used to deliver mental health services in a resource-scarce country like Pakistan. Method: A literature review was carried out for relevant studies conducted in Muslim countries between 2000 to 2015 reporting empirical results. Using the inclusion criteria, thirteen studies were selected for the review. Results: The presented studies suggest that the main proportion of mental health patients in countries with major Muslim population including Pakistan, visit religious/faith healers first for treatment, however all studies are silent about the outcomes through these healers. The only potential visible outcome of contacting religious/faith healers is the identification of mental health cases. However, community/lady health workers with minimal training appeared to be a beneficial source of mental health service delivery in communities. Conclusion: In a resource scarce country like Pakistan, networking with religious/faith healers can be established for effective identification and referral of mental health cases whereas strong and already existing community/lady health workers system can be used as a first level to deliver mental health service at the doorstep.


mental health; religious/faith healers; community/lady health workers; low and middle- income countries