The great shortage, and inequitable distribution, of psychiatrists in low- and middle-income countries is one of the key reasons for the large treatment gap for people with mental disorders. Psychiatrists need to play a public mental health leadership role in increasing the coverage of mental health care through task shifting of effective interventions to non-specialist health workers. Psychiatrists' new roles should include designing and managing such programmes, building clinical capacity, supervision and quality assurance, providing referral pathways and research.
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