A report has found that although mental illness constitutes 10 percent of the world's medical burden, it draws only 1 percent of medical resources, leaving millions of people around the globe without proper medical care.
The report compiled data from 171 countries, representing 95 percent of the global population. It identified a number of factors, including stigma and cost, that pervent proper care for the mentally ill.
Poor countries have both fewer mental health providers, and fewer funds dedicated to mental health, investigators found. Everywhere, stigma stood in the way of treatment.
“There is a misconception that once a person is mentally ill … nothing much can be done about it, which is far from the truth,” Shekhar Saxena, director of WHO’s Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, told Voices of America. “WHO’s documents have very clearly highlighted the fact that largely mental disorders are treatable. People can become all right – completely all right or partially all right – can go back to their job[s], can look after their normal roles and functioning in a very satisfactory way.”
Each year, 900,000 people globally commit suicide, and the global mental health burden is continuing to grow, the report found.