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Global mental health care needs an urgent makeover: WHO


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the World Health Organization (WHO) recently published its most comprehensive review of global mental health in more than 20 years with an action plan that all WHO member states have signed on to transform mental health care, according to a recent press release.

“Everyone’s life touches someone with a mental health condition. Good mental health translates into good physical health and this new report makes a compelling case for change,” said WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

FILE – Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO), removes his protective mask before speaking to the media at the World Health Organization (WHO) headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, on 20 December 2021.” “Everyone’s life touches someone with a mental health condition. Good mental health translates to good physical health and this new report makes a compelling case for change.”
((Salvatore Di Nolfi/Keystone via AP, File))

“The inextricable links between mental health and public health, human rights and socioeconomic development mean that transforming mental health policy and practice can deliver real and substantive benefits to individuals, communities and countries around the world. world. Investing in mental health is investing in a better life and future for all”.

Approximately one billion people, including 14% adolescents globallylived with a mental health disorder in 2019.

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Mental health disorders are the leading cause of disability, and people with serious mental health conditions die on average 10 to 20 years earlier than the general population, primarily due to preventable physical illnesses.

And the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated certain mental health conditions, with depression and anxiety increasing by more than 25% in their first year alone.

Sexual abuse and bullying are two main causes of childhood depression.

Depressed man at night feeling lonely and useless.  The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated certain mental health conditions, with depression and anxiety increasing by more than 25% in their first year alone.

Depressed man at night feeling lonely and useless. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated certain mental health conditions, with depression and anxiety increasing by more than 25% in their first year alone.
(iStock)

But many people with depression are not receiving treatment.

About a third of high-income people with depression receive formal mental health care, but ‘minimally adequate treatment’ is estimated to be only 3% in low- and lower-middle-income countries.

Suicide accounted for more than 1% of deaths, with more than half occurring before the age of 50, but “20 countries still criminalize attempted suicide.”

“In every country, it is the poorest and most disadvantaged in society who are most at risk of mental health problems and also least likely to receive adequate services,” the statement said.

Although there has been some progress in mental health care, the WHO hopes to accelerate change, noting that two out of every three dollars of scarce public spending on mental health is allocated to inpatient psychiatric hospitals rather than community programs, which are the most beneficial for people.

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Getting outside is important for your mental health.  Although there has been some progress in mental health care, the WHO hopes to speed up the change.

Getting outside is important for your mental health. Although there has been some progress in mental health care, the WHO hopes to speed up the change.
(iStock)

The WHO provided three broad recommendations to improve mental health, including a call for governments, individuals and communities to strengthen “the value and commitment” to mental health and its care, as well as to change “the physical, social and economic environments” that have an impact on mental health.

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“All countries have ample opportunity to make significant progress towards better mental health for their population,” said Dévora Kestel, director of the WHO Department of Mental Health and Substance Use.

“Whether it’s developing stronger mental health policies and laws, covering mental health in insurance plans, developing or strengthening community mental health services, or integrating mental health into mainstream health care, schools and prisons, the many Examples in this report show that strategic changes can make a big difference.”



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