• Dr Ashutosh Srivastava

October 10: World Mental Health Day 2021

During this year’s World Mental Health Day campaign, we will showcase the efforts made in some of these countries and encourage you to highlight positive stories as part of your own activities, as an inspiration to others.

We will also provide new materials, in easy-to-read formats, of how to take care of your own mental health and provide support to others too. We hope you will find them useful.

Campaign slogan Mental health care for all: let’s make it a reality Hashtag #WorldMentalHealthDay

Key Messages

The health argument

  • Close to one billion people have a mental disorder and anyone, anywhere, can be affected.

  • Depression is a leading cause of disability worldwide and is a major contributor to the overall global burden of disease. Globally, it is estimated that 5% of adults suffer from depression.

  • Globally, one in seven 10-19-year-olds experience a mental disorder. Half of all such disorders start by age 14 years but most are undetected and untreated.

  • People with severe mental disorders such as schizophrenia tend to die 10-20 years earlier than the general population.

  • One in every 100 deaths is by suicide. It is the fourth leading cause of death for young people aged 15-29 years.

  • The COVID-19 pandemic has had a considerable impact on people’s mental health.

The care gap

  • Despite the universal nature and the magnitude of mental ill health, the gap between demand for mental health services and supply remains substantial.

  • Relatively few people around the world have access to quality mental health services.

  • The serious gaps that still exist in mental health care are a result of chronic under-investment over many decades in mental health promotion, prevention and care.

  • Stigma, discrimination and human rights abuses of people with mental health conditions remain widespread.

The economic cost

  • The lost productivity resulting from depression and anxiety, two of the most common mental disorders, costs the global economy US$ 1 trillion each year.

The investment deficit

  • On average, countries spend just 2% of their national health budgets on mental health. This has changed little in recent years.

  • Despite an increase of development assistance for mental health in recent years, it has never exceeded 1% of development assistance for health.

The good news

  • Some of the most common mental health conditions, depression and anxiety, can be treated with talking therapies, medication, or a combination of these.

  • For every US$ 1 invested in scaled-up treatment for depression and anxiety, there is a return of US$ 5.

  • For every US$ 1 invested in evidence-based treatment for drug dependence, there is a return of up to US$ 7 in reduced crime and criminal justice costs.

  • Generalist health workers can be trained to diagnose and treat mental health conditions.

  • Regular health checks of people with severe mental disorders can prevent premature death.

  • The quality of life of people living with conditions such as autism and dementia can be greatly improved when their caregivers receive appropriate training.

  • The rights of people living with mental health conditions can be protected and promoted through mental health legislation, policy, development of affordable, quality community-based mental health services and the involvement of people with lived experience.

Source: WHO

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