According to estimates, one in four people worldwide will experience mental illness at some time in their lifetime. About 450 million people suffer from mental disorders. More than 300 million people are affected by depression. There are also 21 million who suffer from schizophrenia, 50 million with Alzheimer’s and 50 million from Alzheimer’s. One person commits suicide every 40 seconds. There are indications that 20 people may attempt suicide for every adult who has died.
Even more alarming is the country-level mental illhealth numbers. China and India together account for a third of the world’s mental illness burden. According to some estimates, 36% of Indians suffer from major depression. There were 250,000 suicides in 2012, and more than 40% of those who committed suicide were under 30 years old. Suicide has become the leading cause for death among Indian teenage girls between 15 and 19 years old. China is responsible for 26% of all suicides. Experts estimate that between 25-40% and 50% more women commit suicide each year than men.
Healthy expats in China populations are the key to sustainable growth. The negative effects of mental illness on society can be very costly. People suffering from severe mental illness can live up to 20 years longer, are more likely to be unemployed and have lower incomes than the rest. The direct and indirect costs associated with mental illness amount to more than 4% of the global GDP. This amount is higher than all the costs of chronic respiratory diseases, cancer, and diabetes combined. Mental illness costs will rise to more than $6 trillion annually by 2030.
Mental health is essential for good health.
This crisis is not being addressed enough. Despite the alarming cost and the fact that research shows that every $1 spent on treatment for anxiety and depression results in $4 in better health and more ability to work, 76% to 85% of those with serious mental disorders received no treatment in the past year in low and middle-income countries.
On average, low-income countries only spend 0.5% of their health budgets for mental health. The vast majority of this money goes to hospitals that look more like asylums rather than proper treatment centres. Between 2000 and 2014, mental health was just 0.4% of all global aid for health. Although there has been a lot of progress in the treatment and prevention of non-communicable disease, mental health is still not a priority area.
We are experts in improving the mental health of people.
Mental health can be found wherever someone is. Global mechanisms can only make a difference when we empower communities to provide mental healthcare, both at home and in schools. To address the systemic problems that affect care delivery, it is important to unite efforts at a global level. Collaboration between the private and public sectors is crucial for success.
These are the five priorities that should be considered when collaborating in mental health.
1. Promot multi-stakeholder collaboration in support of mental health.
Mental health is complex and requires collaboration from all stakeholders. This includes grassroot and community organizations as well as civil society groups, local and federal governments, international organizations and private sector companies.
This is where the private sector plays a crucial role. It is not the largest employer in advanced economies, so it isn’t a key stakeholder in any plans to address mental healthcare provision. It would be a great help to optimize outcomes for individuals and families by connecting stakeholders and coordinating activities, including advocacy, financing, and campaign efforts, as well as private sector activities.
2. Make sure you have policies in place that guide and ethically frame the use of data and new technologies to prevent and diagnose mental illness early.
Recent years have seen significant progress in the use of data and technology to enable precision and early diagnosis. Some apps can use built-in cellphone sensors for information about a user’s behavior pattern to identify when help is needed. These are exciting possibilities, but they also raise the need for governance systems to guide the ethical and proper use of these technologies in order to ensure positive outcomes for patients.
3. Increase access to mental healthcare, and encourage the development and use of new drugs and therapies to treat mental health conditions
Mental health treatment must combine psychological and behavioral interventions with medical ones whenever possible. Many people who require treatment are denied it due to low access or inability to afford it.
Around 75% of LMICs do not have access to mental health care. In the United States, one fifth of adults suffering from a mental illness cannot access the treatment they require. This alarming figure does not include people who are seeking treatment, but face barriers to receiving it.