WHO calls for more investment in treatment of mental health

WHO calls for more investment in treatment of mental health
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The World Health Organization (WHO) recently called on all nations to invest more in mental health, saying that "the suffering is enormous" and has been compounded by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Even before Covid-19, nearly a billion people were living with a mental disorder, the UN agency pointed out in its largest study of global mental health in two decades. During the first year of the pandemic, rates of depression and anxiety increased by a quarter. But investment has not increased.

Only 2% of national health budgets and less than 1% of all international health aid are devoted to mental health, according to the WHO report. "All these numbers are very, very low," Mark Van Ommeren from WHO's mental health unit said.

The report highlights how "suffering is enormous" around the world, he added. According to the report, about one in eight people worldwide lives with a mental disorder.

It's worse for those living in conflict zones, where it's estimated that one in five people suffer from a mental health problem. Young people, women and people already suffering from mental health problems have been hit harder by Covid-19 and the resulting restrictions, Van Ommeren said.

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The "Global Mental Health Report" also highlighted wide differences between countries in access to mental health care: while more than 70% of people with psychosis receive treatment in high-income countries, this rate drops to 12% in low-income countries.

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