Each year, 10th October is celebrated as World Mental Health Day. This year, the focus is on depression and suicide. The campaign slogan is ‘Mental health care for all: Let’s make it a reality’.
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.
For some people depression is mild and short-lived; for others, it is more severe and longer-term. Some people are affected only once; others more than once.
At worst, depression can lead to suicide. There is a lot that can be done, however, to prevent and treat depression and to help people who are thinking about suicide.
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.
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 lost productivity resulting from depression and anxiety, two of the most common mental disorders, costs the global economy US$ 1 trillion each year.
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.
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.
Link to the World Mental Health Day 2021 site:
Links to related videos:
Preventing suicide at work: Information for employers
Preventing suicide: Information for teachers
Preventing suicide: Information for health workers
Preventing suicide: Information for first responders