Much as society often overlooks mental health, it is increasingly influencing mortality and society’s general wellbeing.
October 10 highlights the significance of mental health issues. Below are 10 things we should know about the previously overlooked subject as we mark this year’s World Mental Health Day.
Around 20% of the world's children and adolescents have mental disorders or problems.
About half of the mental disorders begin before the age of 14. Neuropsychiatric disorders are among the leading causes of worldwide disability in young people. Yet, according to the World Health Organization, regions of the world with the highest percentage of population under the age of 19 have the poorest level of mental health resources. Most low-and-middle-income countries have only one child psychiatrist for every 1 to 4 million people.
Mental disorders are the leading cause of disability worldwide.
WHO data shows that about 23% of all years lost because of a disability is caused by mental and substance use disorders.
About 800, 000 people commit suicide every year.
Over 800, 000 people die due to suicide every year and suicide is the second leading cause of death in 15 to 29-year-olds. This means that at least 40 people commit suicide every minute around the world.
WHO data shows that 75% of suicides occur in low-and-middle-income countries. Mental disorders and harmful use of alcohol contribute to many suicides around the world.
War and disasters have a large impact on mental health and psychosocial well-being.
Rates of mental disorder tend to double after emergencies, wars, famine, and disasters. Suicide deaths increase in war-torn countries.
Mental disorders are risk factors for diseases, unintentional and intentional injury.
Mental disorders increase the risk of getting ill from other diseases such as HIV, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and vice-versa. Early identification and consulting counsellors are key to ensuring that people receive the care they need.
Stigma and discrimination against patients prevent people from seeking mental health care.
According to WHO, misunderstanding and stigma surrounding mental health are widespread. Despite the existence of effective treatments for mental disorders, there is a belief that they are untreatable or that people with mental disorders are difficult, not intelligent, or incapable of making decisions.
Human rights violations of people with mental and psychosocial disabilities are routinely reported in most countries.
These include physical restraint, seclusion, and denial of basic needs and privacy. Few countries have a legal framework that adequately protects the rights of people with mental disorders.
Globally, there is a huge inequity in the distribution of skilled human resources for mental health.
WHO figures show that shortages of psychiatrists, psychiatric nurses, psychologists, and social workers are among the main barriers to providing treatment and care in low-and-middle-income countries. The rate of psychiatrists in high-income countries is 170 times greater and for nurses, 70 times greater.
Financial resources to increase services are relatively modest.
Governments, donors, and groups representing mental health service users and their families need to work together to increase mental health services, especially in low-and-middle-income countries. The financial resources needed are relatively modest: US$ 2 per capita per year in low-income countries and US$ 3 to 4 in lower-middle-income countries.
There are 5 key barriers to increasing mental health services availability.
WHO observed that in order to increase the availability of mental health services, there are five key barriers that need to be overcome: the absence of mental health from the public health agenda and the implications for funding; the current organisation of mental health services; lack of integration within primary care; inadequate human resources for mental health; and lack of public mental health leadership.