The expression primary health care (PHC) gives the impression of an ensemble of control of communicable diseases, infant care, avoidance of insanitary personal habits and curbing environmental pollution. These indeed constitute the main elements of the scheme but are not exclusive to it. An integral but often ignored aspect is the community dimension of mental health whose importance is underscored by the fact that a significant majority of people in the third world live in rural areas with minimal or no access to formal psychiatric facilities. In this paper, I shall review the conceptual framework and practicality of primary health care with special reference to community mental health, highlight some notable limitations to policy execution and finally propose an organisational model structure for the community mental health services within the primary health care system.
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