More than 75 per cent of people with mental, neurological and substance use disorders receive no treatment for their condition at all in low- and middle-income countries, global organisations say.
Stigma, discrimination, punitive legislation and human rights abuses are still widespread, according to a joint statement by the World Health Organisation, United for Global Mental Health and the World Federation for Mental Health.
Close to one billion people are living with mental disorder, three million people die every year from the harmful use of alcohol and one person dies every 40 seconds by suicide, according to the joint statement issued by the WHO.
And now, billions of people around the world have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, which is having a further impact on mental health which is one of the most neglected areas of public health, WHO says ahead of the World Mental Health Day.
But relatively few people have access to quality mental health services.
The limited access to quality, affordable mental health care in the world before the pandemic, and particularly in humanitarian emergencies and conflict settings, has been further diminished due to COVID-19 as the pandemic has disrupted health services.
Primary causes have been infection and the risk of infection in long-stay facilities such as care homes and psychiatric institutions, barriers to meeting people face-to-face, mental health staff being infected with the virus, and the closing of mental health facilities to convert them into care facilities for people with COVID-19.
For this year’s World Mental Health Day, WHO, together with partner organisations, United for Global Mental Health and the World Federation for Mental Health, is calling for a massive scale-up in investment in mental health.
To encourage public action around the world, a World Mental Health Day campaign, ‘Move for mental health: let’s invest’ will kick off in September.
‘World Mental Health Day is an opportunity for the world to come together and begin redressing the historic neglect of mental health,’ said TedrosAdhanomGhebreyesus, director-general of WHO.
‘We’re already seeing the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on people’s mental well-being, and this is just the beginning. Unless we make serious commitments to scale up investment in mental health right now, the health, social and economic consequences will be far-reaching,’ he said.
Countries spend on average only 2 per cent of their health budgets on mental health, according to WHO.
Despite some increases in recent years, international development assistance for mental health has never exceeded 1 per cent of all development assistance for health.
The World Mental Health Day campaign will offer opportunities for all of us to do something life-affirming: as individuals, to take concrete actions in support of our own mental health, and to support friends and family who are struggling; as employers, to take steps towards putting in place employee wellness programmes, as governments, to commit to establishing or scaling-up mental health services; and as journalists, to explain what more can and must be done to make mental health care a reality for everyone.
‘It’s nearly 30 years since the first World Mental Health Day was launched by the World Federation for Mental Health,’ said Ingrid Daniels, president of the World Federation of Mental Health.
On World Mental Health Day, October 10, WHO will for the first time ever host a global online advocacy event on mental health.
At this event ̶ the Big Event for Mental Health ̶ WHO will showcase the work that its staff are doing around the world to reduce mental illness and the harmful use of alcohol and drugs.
World leaders and mental health experts will join the WHO director-general to talk about their commitment to mental health and what more must be done. World-renowned musicians who have spoken out about the importance of mental health will talk about their motivation and perform.
The federation’s campaign kicks off on September 1, with the Federation’s president launching the 2020 World Mental Health Day campaign educational material ‘Mental Health for All: Greater Investment - Greater Access’ under the Royal Patronage HRH princess ImanAfzan Al-Sultan Abdullah of Malaysia.
This includes a call to action 2020 from Pamela Y Collins and Deepa Rao, and will be followed by 45 days of awareness-raising activities led by the Federation’s youth section, including a global online discussion forum and art exhibition.
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