WHO asks countries to intensify measures to improve mental health care

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The World Health Organization (WHO) published a report in which it urges the governments of different countries to intensify measures to improve mental health care, as well as change the perception of it.

In 2019, almost a billion people, including 14 percent of the world’s adolescents, were living with a mental disorder, the suicide it accounted for more than one in 100 deaths and 58 percent of them occurred before the age of 50.

The mental disorders they are the main cause of disability, and people who suffer from it have about 10 or 20 years less life expectancy than the healthy population.

In this sense, the WHO warned that social and economic inequalities, public health emergencies, war, and the climate crisis are among the global threats to mental health. In fact, depression and anxiety increased by more than 25 percent in the first year of the pandemic alone.

ā€œIn 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 experience mental health problems. receive services appropriate,” said the United Nations body.

Even before the covid-19 pandemic, only a small fraction of people in need had access to effective, affordable, quality mental health care. For example, 71 percent of people with psychosis worldwide do not receive mental health services.

ā€œFor depression, gaps in service coverage are wide in all countries: even in high-income countries, only a third of people with depression receive formal mental health care, and minimally adequate treatment for depression is estimated to range from 23% in high-income countries to 3% in low- and lower-middle-income countries.

The Organization also called on all stakeholders to work together to deepen the value and commitment given to mental health, reshape the environments that influence mental health, and strengthen systems who take care of people’s mental health.

The Director General of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, stated that “good mental health translates into good physical health and this new report makes a compelling case for change. The inextricable links between mental health and public health, human rights and socioeconomic development mean that the transformation of mental health policies and practices can generate real and substantive benefits for people, communities and countries around the world.ā€

ā€œInvestment in mental health is an investment in a better life and future for all,ā€ said Tedros Adhanom.

Specifically, the report urges countries to accelerate implementation of the Comprehensive Mental Health Action Plan 2013-2030 and recommends stepping up investments in mental health, not only by obtaining appropriate funds and human resources in health and other sectors to meet mental health needs, but also through committed leadership, applying evidence-based policies and practices, and establishing strong reporting and monitoring systems.

It also advocates for reforming environments that influence mental health, including homes, communities, schools, workplaces, health care services, and natural settings; and strengthen mental health care.

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