May 2015
The Mental Health Policy and Laws – Egypt Profile (Zone 11)


This document was developed by the General Secretariat of Mental Health & Addiction treatment – Ministry of Health & Population. The GSMHAT is the governmental body and the major provider of mental health services nationwide.


The Mental Health Act was issued by Presidential decree in 2009 which concentrated on human rights issues of patients within psychiatric facilities and on monitoring all processes and treatment proceducers with these facilities. This law had 7 parts each cared about specific area concerning mental health care activities. The law 71 for the year 20091 took into consideration the limitation of the law 141 for the year 1944 also noted that advancement & varieties of medical & psychological treatment available. The law was designed to match the international requirements for psychiatric patient care.

It contained 7 chapters:

1) Part One: jurisdiction of the Law & Definitions.

2) Part Two: Councils of Mental Health

A. First Section: National Council for Mental Health.

B. Second Section: Local Council for Mental Health.

3) Part Three: The Patient's Admission.

A. First Section: Voluntary Admission.

B. Second Section: Compulsory Admission.

C. Third Section: Lodging by virtue of Decisions or Judicial Court rulings

4) Part Four: Treatment of a Psychiatric Patient.

5) Part Five: Psychiatric Patients' Rights.

6) Part Six: Mental Health Fund.

7) Part Seven: Penalties for physicians & psychiatric institutions

The Mental Health Law 71 for 2009 is fully implemented. It promotes the rights of persons with mental disorders to exercise their legal capacity. It also promotes alternatives to coercive practice including voluntary admission, informed consent to treatment and substitutes for seclusion and restraints

In addition to the Mental Health Act, currently there is effort to introduce changes to the article 122 of 1989 from the anti narcotic laws which states that a convicted addict could be referred for involuntary treatment in case of committing a crime under the influence of illicit drugs.

The National Mental Health Commission

The NMHC is the governmental body responsible for supervising the Mental Health Act 71 for the year 2009. Its main role is to develop the general policies for admission and treatment of mentally ill patients, policies for protection of rights of the mentally ill, policies for licensing facilities working in the field of mental health service providing, policies regulating the work of forensic psychiatry units.

Mental Health Strategic Plan

Currently with the support of WHO, the General Secretariat of Mental Health & Addiction Treatment – Ministry of Health & Population is developing the Mental Health Strategic plan taking into consideration the different national mental health plan from other countries and the global mental health action plan.

GSMHAT vision

To reach international standards of care in mental health & addiction service providing; & To provide those services for every citizen in every location in Egypt.

GSMHAT Mission

To provide high quality service in the field of mental health & addiction. To provide this service at primary, secondary & tertiary care levels nationwide.

The Policies & Procedures at the General Secretariat of Mental Health

Different departments have developed internal regulation, guidelines, policies and procedures for delivering services. An example of specific policies :

The Addiction Department Policy

Developed from the practice of the largest addiction service hospital : Heliopolis ( Al – Matar) , the addiction department policy encompass the therapeutic programs, team structure, admission & discharge policy especially that the inpatient services are completely voluntary and based on open door policy. In addition specific operational policies were developed for subspecialities such as Gender Oriented Care model and specific program for adolescent addiction.

The Child & Adolescent department

Developed at the GSMHAT HQ to regulate the service providing and the general therapeutic guidelines including (place structure – Team formation – tool used (psychological assessment & therapeutic tools) – care pathway – unified patient registration form).


General & local policies & procedures

Different hospitals have internal regulations for the admission, care pathway, outpatient management that follows the Mental Health Act and its working memorandum.

Mental Health Services in Egypt

The main & governmental service providers are the General Secretariat of Mental Health & Addiciton treatment. In addition there is different section participating in service providing such as Universities: psychiatry department – private sector – hospitals following the Ministry of Interior and Ministry of defense – NGO.

The total licensed facilities for providing mental health services are 61 facilities (17 governmental & 44 private). The total bed capacity is 7921 bed ( 1966 private sector – 5955 public sector).

Below is the description of GSMHAT, the main & largest service provider data:

  • The GSMHAT has 18 hospitals & centers providing mental health & addiction treatment services in 13 governorates ( out of 27). In addition the GSMHAT has one community mental health center related to PHC.

  • Total mental health expenditure in the fiscal year 2012/2013 is 130 m EGP, & IN 2013/2014 IS 180 m EGP

  • The total population of Egypt in 2013 (Primary preliminary estimate from CAPMAS): 83667047 (excluding Egyptian living abroad). The current population is 86130150

  • Total governmental mental health expenditure per capita is 1.55 for the fiscal year 2012/2013 & 2.16 for the fiscal year 2013/2014. Current expenditure per capita for current population estimate is 2.09

  • Number of annually treated patient 2013 at mental health governmental facilities

  • Inpatients : 17980 patients (including psychiatric & addiction)

  • Outpatients: 404281 visits (excluding outpatient clinic at general hospitals)

  • Total number of psychiatrists working at specialized mental health facilities (excluding general hospitals & clinics) in 2013 is 571 psychiatrists. The total Human capacity is 6097 persons.

  • The type of services provided: general adult psychiatry, geriatric psychiatry, addiction including gender oriented care for female addicts & adolescent addiction, child & adolescent psychiatry, forensic psychiatry and rehabilitation & community psychiatry.


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