1. In 2020 depression will be main cause of disability worldwide

Depression is one of the main global health challenge. The World Health Organisation forecast that in 2020 depression will be the main cause of disability worldwide.

2. Around 20% of the world’s children and adolescents have mental disorders or problems

About half of mental disorders begin before the age of 14. Similar types of disorders are being reported across cultures. Neuropsychiatric disorders are among the leading causes of worldwide disability in young people. Yet, 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.

3. Mental and substance use disorders are the leading cause of disability worldwide

About 23% of all years lost because of disability is caused by mental and substance use disorders.

4. 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 15-29-year-olds. There are indications that for each adult who died of suicide there may have been more than 20 others attempting suicide. 75% of suicides occur in low- and middle-income countries. Mental disorders and harmful use of alcohol contribute to many suicides around the world. Early identification and effective management are key to ensuring that people receive the care they need.

5. War and disasters have a large impact on mental health and psychosocial well-being
Rates of mental disorder tend to double after emergencies.



mental health

6. Mental disorders are important risk factors for other diseases, as well as unintentional and intentional injury

Mental disorders increase the risk of getting ill from other diseases such as HIV, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and vice-versa.

7. Stigma and discrimination against patients and families prevent people from seeking mental health care

Misunderstanding and stigma surrounding mental ill 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. This stigma can lead to abuse, rejection and isolation and exclude people from health care or support. Within the health system, people are too often treated in institutions which resemble human warehouses rather than places of healing.

8. Human rights violations of people with mental and psychosocial disability 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.

9. Low-income countries have 0.05 psychiatrists and 0.42 nurses per 100 000 people

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. Low-income countries have 0.05 psychiatrists and 0.42 nurses per 100 000 people. The rate of psychiatrists in high income countries is 170 times greater and for nurses is 70 times greater.

10. Many low- and middle-income countries currently allocate less than 2% of the health budget to the treatment and prevention of mental disorders

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$ 3-4 in lower middle-income countries.


Source: World Health Organisation. 10 facts on mental health. Available at: http://www.who.int/features/factfiles/mental_health/mental_health_facts/en/index6.html

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