World Health Organization (WHO) launches mental health report

17/06/2022

The World Health Organization (WHO) has published “World mental health report: Transforming mental health for all”, a review of the global approach to mental health, which provides a blueprint for governments, academics, health professionals, civil society and others to transform services and supports. The report notes that in 2019, nearly a billion people were living with a mental disorder. The disabling effect of mental health conditions was highlighted, noting that people with severe mental health conditions die on average 10 to 20 years earlier than the general population, mostly due to preventable physical diseases. Furthermore, social and economic inequalities, public health emergencies, war, and climate change are highlighted as structural threats to mental health.

The report notes that even before the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, only a small proportion of people had access to effective, affordable and quality mental health care. In particular, the gap between high and, low- and middle-income countries in treating conditions such as depression is stark. Drawing on the latest evidence available, showcasing examples of good practice, and voicing people’s lived experience, WHO’s report highlights where change is most needed and how it can best be achieved. All 194 WHO Member States have signed up to the Comprehensive mental health action plan 2013–2030, which commits them to global targets for transforming mental health. Whilst, some progress has been achieved over the past decade, countries are urged to speed up their implementation through three ‘paths to transformation’:

1. Deepen the value and commitment we give to mental health.

2. Reshape environments that influence mental health, including homes, communities, schools, workplaces, health care services, natural environments.

3. Strengthen mental health care by changing where, how, and by whom mental health care is delivered and received.

The full report can be accessed at: https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/9789240049338