INTERNATIONAL CONSORTIUM for MENTAL HEALTH POLICY and SERVICES
MENTAL HEALTH POLICY TEMPLATE

Political Environment

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POLICY TEMPLATE WITH EXPLANATIONS
CONTEXT
SOCIETAL ORGANISATION AND CULTURE
DEMOGRAPHY
ECONOMIC ENVIRONMENT
POLITICAL ENVIRONMENT
POLICY EXAMPLES
SOCIAL STRUCTURE AND SYSTEMS
SOCIAL PATHOLOGY
OTHER ENVIRONMENTAL INFLUENCES

The political environment is the state, government and its institutions and legislations and the public and private stakeholders who operate and interact with or influence that system. The stability of the political environment and government will impact on the prioritisation of mental health policy in relation to other policies, the funding available to mental health and the time frames in which policies and programmes can be realized. Political environment also includes the political culture i.e. "widely held views, beliefs and attitudes concerning what governments should try to do and how they should operate and the relationship between the citizen and the government." (18) Political culture includes population participation and involvement in the electoral process and the level of government acceptance by the population. This is of particular importance in countries where democratic processes are emerging. (First Meeting of the Latin America and Caribbean Region, Consortium for Mental Health Policy and Services, Chile Santiago, 8-10, Nov, 2000; First Meeting of the Eastern European Region, Consortium for Mental Health Policy and Services, Prague, Czech Republic, 1-4, Nov, 2000) The political process is extremely important in policy development, implementation and reform. "Policy reform is a profoundly political process. Politics affects the origins, the formulation and the implementation of public policy, especially when significant changes are involved…Policy reform is inevitably political because it seeks to change who gets valued goods in society." (19,20) While policy makers may not formally address the political environment in a mental health policy it is important that the political environment in which a mental health policy is to be formulated and implemented is carefully considered if policy implementation and reform are to be successful.