Mental Health

Mental health is an essential component of a comprehensive program of public health. If left untreated, mental disorders have serious social, psychological and physical health consequences.


Giving good health through good mental health



To provide holistic, safe, effective, high quality mental health care for all Timorese to meet their health needs, following international standards of care


Key policies, and guidelines:

  1. Mental health needs in Timor-Leste will continue to be met by a community-based service that is integrated into the mainstream health program, and is accessible, responsive and at no cost to the population.
  2. The mental health service will give priority to the management of severe mental illness, and will provide support and training to other agencies in the management of less severe conditions and general behaviour disturbance.
  3. The MoH will be responsible for coordination and regulation of all mental health services in East Timor, including by non-government service providers.
  4. The mental health service should be appropriately staffed with permanently employed, adequately trained personnel. Training should be ongoing and include general health workers and doctors of Timor-Leste.
  5. The mental health service should be based on a comprehensive approach to therapeutic interventions (i.e. not restricted to drug therapy), with a strong focus on counselling and family involvement that is consistent with indigenous models of care. 
  6. To facilitate the short-term management of disturbed patients who have no immediate accommodation or family support a crisis response plan will be implemented that will involve close collaboration between mental health services, police and the mental health NGO network.
  7. The psychotropics drug list on the National Essential Drugs List should be maintained and consideration be given to an annual review of this list.
  8. Ongoing training, supervision and peer support for mental health services should be provided and planned for on an annual basis.