The World Health Organization (WHO) has just released a report on mental health in the world, where it proposes to governments, universities, health professionals and civil society, a blueprint to help the world transform health mental.
This is the first WHO report on mental health since 2000. In this in-depth overview, the WHO begins by explaining mental disorders, which are the leading cause of disability and who are responsible for one in six years lived with a disability.
A year before the pandemic, i.e. in 2019, the world had nearly a billion people with a mental disorder, 14% of whom were adolescents, the organization reveals in its report, while suicides represented more than one deaths out of 100 noting that 58% of them occurred before the age of 50.
In detail, the organization explains that people with serious mental disorders have a reduced lifespan of 10 to 20 years compared to the general population, often due to preventable physical pathologies. Among the major causes of depression, the WHO cites in its report sexual abuse during childhood and bullying.
But not only ! The report argues that social and economic inequality, public health emergencies, war and the climate crisis are also among the global structural threats to mental health, noting that depression and anxiety have increased by more than 25 % in the first year of the pandemic only.
What is wrong is not to have a mental illness, but to experience the stigma and discrimination because of this illness and to suffer from it. The WHO did not fail to return in its report to this important point, noting that human rights violations are frequent in communities and healthcare systems before specifying that attempted suicides are still criminalized in 20 countries.
Thus, and according to the WHO report, it is the poorest and most disadvantaged in society who are most at risk of mental disorders in all countries and who are also the least likely to receive services. adequate, noting that prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, only a small fraction of those in need had access to effective, affordable and quality mental health care.
In detail, the WHO reveals that 71% of people with psychosis worldwide do not receive mental health services, while 70% of people with psychosis would be treated in high-income countries, while 12% only receive mental health care in low-income countries.
With regard to depression, the WHO points to wide gaps in service coverage observed in all countries, even in high-income countries, noting that only a third of people with depression receive formal mental health and the minimum adequate treatment for depression is estimated to range from 23% in high-income countries to 3% in low- and lower-middle-income countries.
To do so, the report recalls that 194 WHO Member States have all endorsed the Global Mental Health Action Plan 2013/30, by which they commit to achieving global targets to transform mental health, noting that local progress over the past decade proves that change is possible.
That said, this change is not happening fast enough according to the WHO, and the history of mental health remains one marked by destitution and neglect. Indeed, the WHO reveals that of the meager government spending on mental health, two out of every three dollars goes to independent psychiatric facilities rather than community mental health services closer to people.
In this sense, WHO in its report urges all countries to implement the Comprehensive Mental Health Action Plan 2013/30, noting that several recommendations on measures to be taken are made therein. Its recommendations, continues the organization, are grouped into three pathways to transformation » focused on changing attitudes about mental health, addressing mental health risks and strengthening mental health care systems.