Continuing Medical Education

A broad diagnostic framework to simplify the approach to mental disorders in primary care

J Parker


Overemphasis on detailed classification of a psychiatric disorder at a primary level assessment may be unhelpful and prone to error. True rigour demands a continuous process of hypothesis formation that guides further enquiry. A simple categorisation of priority conditions provides a useful framework for such a process. This approach has been set out by the World Health Organization (WHO) Mental Health Gap Action Program (MHGAP) Intervention Guide, which can then be adapted for use in the South African context. This then provides the basis for further enquiry and risk assessment at the initial consultation.

Author's affiliations

J Parker, OPD, Outreach and Medium Term Services, Lentegeur Hospital, Division of Public Mental Health, Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health, University of Cape Town, South Africa

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Mental disorders

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2014;104(1):69-71. DOI:10.7196/SAMJ.7717

Article History

Date submitted: 2013-11-11
Date published: 2013-11-19

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