- A recent report by the World Health Organization (WHO) revealed that one in eight people in the world live with mental disorder.
- WHO has further recommended measures to address the skyrocketing cases of mental health problems.
The Glaring Mental Health Landscape
WHO’s landmark report exposed the state of mental health in the post-pandemic period across the globe. Recent research has further confirmed this, stating that symptoms of mental disorders increased by 11% to 73% during and after the pandemic outbreak. These include common mental health conditions like depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, etc.
Living With A Mental Illness
Mental illness is debilitating and it cripples our everyday functioning. It negatively impacts our physical health, personal and professional lives, and our social relationships.
For instance, according to a 2010 study, “depression is the leading cause of disability as measured by Years Lived with Disability (YLDs) and the fourth leading contributor to the global burden of disease.”
Untreated mental disorders often end in self-harm and suicide. In fact, one 2017 study revealed that almost 36.4%–39.4% of children and adolescents report suicidal ideation and attempts every year because of mental distress.
Measures To Help People Who Live With Mental Disorders
WHO has recently formulated the Comprehensive Mental Health Action Plan 2013-2030 to combat the burgeoning mental health crisis. The plan recommends measures like:
- Ending the stigma associated with mental health
- Doing away with the discrimination and human rights violations against people with mental health conditions
- Decriminalizing suicide
- Stepping up investments in mental health
- Providing mental health emergency services
- Strengthening psychiatric infrastructure
- Diversifying and upscaling mental healthcare treatment options
- Making high-quality mental healthcare easily accessible and affordable
- Providing effective rehabilitation and “reintroduction to society” opportunities
Combating The Mental Health Crisis
Given the alarming rise in mental health cases, WHO has urged countries, political leaders, mental health policymakers, and advocates to step up their action and commitment to changing attitudes to mental health and mental health care treatment.
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO’s Director-General, elaborated: “The inextricable links between mental health and public health, human rights, and socio-economic development mean that transforming policy and practice in mental health can deliver real, substantive benefits for individuals, communities, and countries everywhere.”