Transforming mental health for all

Transforming mental health for all

The World Health Organization’s latest world mental health report aims to inspire and inform the transformative action necessary to improve mental health for everyone everywhere.1

Since WHO’s inaugural 2001 report our understanding of the epidemiology and experience of poor mental health has improved because of increased research and better data.123 We have a clearer understanding of the consequences of mental health problems for the lives of affected people around the world3 and for our shared global economy.4 The development of mental health interventions has also become an urgent public health priority.5 We are having more open and honest conversations about mental health, and many countries have put in place policies and are building the infrastructure to make mental healthcare more accessible.1

Yet the effects of mental health problems continue to be devastating for individuals, communities, and economies around the world.126 Some 129 million years of full health are lost to poor mental health globally.3 Nearly 800 000 lives are lost to suicide annually.1 The economic cost of mental health problems will rise to $6tn a year by 2030.7 Fundamental gaps in information, governance, resources, and services make mental wellbeing unachievable for many people around the world, especially those in low and middle-income countries.1middle-income

It is against this backdrop that the latest WHO report describes avenues through which stakeholders and decision makers can turbocharge a transformation to improve mental health for all. The recommendations are comprehensive but may benefit from more targeted guiding principles: mental health services must be affordable, personalised to an individual’s needs and circumstances, and integrated within existing systems of caregiving and community life.

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