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The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that nearly one billion people worldwide suffer from some form of mental illness.
These latest figures from the WHO are even more disturbing given that one in seven of the one billion people is young.
In the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic, problems such as depression and anxiety increased by more than 25 percent, the WHO said.
In its most comprehensive mental health survey of the century, the World Health Organization (WHO) has called on more countries to prepare for the deteriorating situation.
The World Health Organization (WHO) acknowledges and cites examples of mental health initiatives for positive and sustainable development, urging them to be implemented as soon as possible.
“Every single person’s life affects someone’s mental health,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director of the WHO.
“Good mental health reflects good physical health, and this new report makes a change in our attitudes inevitable,” he said.
He said the link between mental health and public health, human rights and socio-economic development could not be bridged, which meant that policies and strategies on mental health should be changed so that individuals, communities and countries get real and significant benefits.
“Investing in mental health is like investing in a better life for all and in the future,” he said.
The WHO, citing the latest available global data for 2019, said that even before the outbreak of the Covid pandemic, only a small fraction of those in need of mental health treatment had access to effective, affordable and quality services.
The WHO cites the example that more than 70% of people with mental illness worldwide do not get the help they need.
The gap between rich and poor countries is also marked by unequal access to healthcare, with 7 out of 10 people suffering from mental illness receiving treatment in high-income countries, compared to only 12 in low-income countries.
According to the WHO, the situation is more dramatic when it comes to treating depression, with only one-third of people with depression receiving regular mental health care in all countries, including high-income countries.
The WHO added that high-income countries provide the “least appropriate” treatment for depression in 23% of cases, but only 3% in low- and middle-income countries.
“We need to change our attitudes, practices and practices to raise awareness and protect mental health and to help and care for those in need,” the WHO chief said.
“We can and should do this by changing the environment that affects our mental health and by providing access to global mental health services at the community level,” he said.