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WHO releases largest review of world mental health

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    Polity & Governance
  • Published
    21st Jun, 2022


The World Health Organization released its largest review of world mental health since the turn of the century. 

Global Mental Health Review: Highlights & Key Takeaways

  • 1 in 8 people globally lives with a mental disorder.
  • People with mental health disorders died, on average, 10 to 20 years before others.
  • In 2019, nearly a billion people – including 14% of the world’s adolescents – were living with a mental disorder. 
  • Suicide accounted for more than 1 in 100 deaths and 58% of suicides occurred before age 50. 
  • Mental disorders are the leading cause of disability, causing 1 in 6 years lived with disability. 
  • People with severe mental health conditions die on average 10 to 20 years earlier than the general population, mostly due to preventable physical diseases. 
  • Depression and anxiety went up by more than 25% in the first year of the pandemic alone. 

What is mental health?

  • Mental health includes a person’s emotional, psychological and social well-being. 
  • It encompasses a wide range of issues, from clinically diagnosed mental disorders to substance abuse and addiction. 

What are the major causes of poor mental health?

  • Childhood sexual abuse and bullying victimization are major causes of depression.
  • Social and economic inequalities, public health emergencies, war, and the climate crisis are among the global, structural threats to mental health. 
  • Stigma, discrimination and human rights violations against people with mental health conditions are widespread in communities and care systems everywhere.
  • Across countries, it is the poorest and most disadvantaged in society who are at greatest risk of mental ill-health and who are also the least likely to receive adequate services.

Currently, as per WHO, for 1,00,000 population India has 0.3 psychiatrists, 0.12 nurses and 0.07 psychologists and 0.07 health workers. 

Recommended measures

  • Deepen the value and commitment we give to mental health.
  • Reshape environments that influence mental health, including homes, communities, schools, workplaces, health care services, natural environments. 
  • Strengthen mental health care by changing where, how, and by whom mental health care is delivered and received.

Important government initiatives for mental health

  • Mental Health Act 2017 has granted patients the legal rights to life with dignity without discrimination, coercion and harassment.
  • Budget: The Government enhanced allocation in the budget for 2022 for Mental Health and its initiative to establish Tele-Mental Health Centres for milder illnesses
  • Ayushman Bharat, the flagship program of the Government of India, was designed to meet the Sustainable Development Goal 3 and achieve Universal Health Coverage. Ayushman Bharat adopts a two-fold approach namely
    • Health and Wellness Centres
    • Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY)
  • Ayushman Bharat PM-JAY has coverage for mental disorders.

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