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WHO World Mental Health Report


Recently the World Health Organization (WHO) released the World Mental Health Report.


GS II- Health

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Highlights of the report
  2. What is Mental health?
  3. Challenges related to Mental Health
  4. World Health Organization (WHO)

Highlights of the report

  • WHO has called for more action to be taken to address mental health issues around the world, particularly now that the ‘Covid-19’ pandemic has been linked to poor mental health.
  • In 2019, about a billion people, 14% of whom were adolescents, were suffering from mental health problems. For some, this led to suicide, which accounted for one in every 100 fatalities, with more than half occurring before the age of 50.
  • In the first year of the pandemic, depression and anxiety increased by 25% (2020).
  • The Comprehensive Mental Health Action Plan 2013–2030 has been endorsed by all 194 WHO member states, although progress has been slow.
  • Apart from the pandemic, other structural dangers to mental health include social and economic inequality, public health emergencies, conflict, and the climate catastrophe.
  • People who suffer from mental illnesses live two decades less than the normal population.
  • Mental health services are still difficult to come by.
  • 71 percent of psychosis sufferers worldwide do not receive treatment.
  • 70 per cent of psychosis patients are treated in high-income countries, while just 12 percent are treated in low-income ones.
  • To accelerate progress on the Comprehensive Mental Health Action Plan 2013–2030, the WHO report identifies three major “paths to transformation.”
  • These include increased investment in mental health, transforming surroundings that influence mental health, such as families, communities, schools, workplaces, and health care facilities, and diversifying mental health care to improve quality.

What is Mental health?

  • According to the World Health Organization (WHO), mental health is a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.’
  • Like Physical health, Mental health is also important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.

Challenges related to Mental Health

  • According to India’s latest National Mental Health Survey 2015-16, an estimated 150 million people in the country require mental health care treatments.
  • Psychiatrists (0.3), nurses (0.12), psychologists (0.07), and social workers (0.07) make up a small percentage of India’s mental health workforce (per 100,000 population) (0.07).
  • Due to a low financial resource allocation of just over 1% of GDP on healthcare, public access to inexpensive mental healthcare has been hampered.
  • Poor awareness of mental disease symptoms, societal stigma, and abandonment of mentally ill people, especially the elderly and indigent, leads to social isolation and family members’ reluctance to seek treatment for the patient.
  • As a result, there is a significant treatment gap, which exacerbates a person’s current mental illness.
  • There is a need for effective mental health rehabilitation following therapy, which is currently lacking.
  • Because mental health issues tend to worsen during economic downturns, particular attention is required during these times.

World Health Organization (WHO)

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for international public health.
  • It is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • Its main objective is ensuring “the attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health.”
  • The WHO’s broad mandate includes advocating for universal healthcare, monitoring public health risks, coordinating responses to health emergencies, and promoting human health and well-being.
  • The World Health Assembly (WHA), composed of representatives from all 194 member states, serves as the agency’s supreme decision-making body.

-Source: Indian Express

March 2024