Tuesday, July 5, 2022

One billion people worldwide have mental disorders: WHO

The data released Friday said the staggering figure was even more worrying because it included around one in seven teenagers.

• June 18, 2022
Tedros Ghebreyesus (Credit: Twitter)

The latest data released by the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimated that nearly one billion people worldwide suffer from some form of mental disorder.

The data released Friday said the staggering figure was even more worrying because it included around one in seven teenagers.

“To make matters worse, in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, rates of common conditions such as depression and anxiety went up by more than 25 per cent,” it said.

According to the data, social and economic inequalities, public health emergencies, war, and climate crises are global, structural threats to mental health.

The health body said that depression and anxiety went up by more than 25 per cent in the first year of the pandemic alone, just as it suggested the recognition of the critical roles that mental health plays in sustainable development.

“Investment into mental health is an investment into a better life and future for all,” WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus said.

Citing the latest available global data from 2019, Mr Ghebreyesus said that even before COVID-19 hit, only a small fraction of people needing help had access to adequate, affordable, quality mental health treatment.

He said that more than 70 per cent of those with psychosis worldwide did not get the help they needed.

“The gap between rich and poor nations highlights unequal access to healthcare, as seven in 10 people with psychosis receive treatment in high-income countries, compared to only 12 per cent in low-income countries,” Mr Ghebreyesus said.

According to him, the situation is more dramatic for cases of depression, pointing to gaps in assistance across all countries, including high-income ones.

“Only one-third of people who suffer from depression receive formal mental health care.

“Although high-income countries offer ‘minimally-adequate’ treatment for depression in 23 per cent of cases, this drops to just three per cent in low and lower-middle-income countries,” he said.

He added, “We need to transform our attitudes, actions and approaches to promote and protect mental health and provide and care for those in need.”


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