WHO publishes Brief to raise awareness of the impact of disease associated to mental health conditions and how to help reduce it


The World Health Organization (WHO) has published a Partners’ Brief called "Mental Health: It is Time to Act". The objective of this document is to sensitise the organisation's partners and the general public about the huge impact of disease associated to mental health conditions and the actions needed to reduce it.

One billion people have mental health disorders worldwide and the economic consequences of these conditions amount to around USD 1 trillion (approx. EUR 885 billion) per year in loss of productivity and higher health-care costs.  To reverse these numbers, national and international investment in mental health must be stepped up and rationalised, insists the WHO, to ensure increased access to quality and respectful mental health services. Readers will also gain a better understanding of the role of the WHO in supporting organisations and governments to implement a scientific approach to mental health.

The WHO’s work in mental health spans a broad range of activities including action on suicide prevention; alcohol, drugs and addictive behaviours; child and adolescent mental health and brain health; research and implementation of innovative psychological interventions and digital tools; human rights-based reforms for policy, law and services; mental health at work; mental health and psychosocial support tools for emergencies (including for COVID-19); and a new area of work on promotion of brain health and prevention and management of neurological conditions, including dementia. Its proposed actions to transform and scale up mental health programmes worldwide will require social and financial action by individuals, communities and governments everywhere, in order to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) targets 3.4 and 3.5. The SDGs were set up in 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly and are intended to be achieved by the year 2030.