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Nearly one in eight people worldwide live with a mental disorder, according to WHO

The alert is twofold. In his “World Mental Health Report” published friday june 17, the World Health Organization (WHO) reveals that nearly one in eight people in the world live with a mental disorder, a figure that even drops to one in five people in conflict zones. At the same time, the organization is concerned about the lack of means deployed to deal with it.

Before Covid-19, nearly a billion people – including 14% of adolescents worldwide – lived with a mental disorder, the UN agency points out in its largest study on global mental health in two decades . And during the first year of the pandemic, rates of depression and anxiety increased by 25%.

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Young people, women and people already suffering from mental health problems have been hit hardest by Covid and the resulting restrictions, said Mark Van Ommeren, of the WHO’s mental health unit, during a meeting. ‘a press conference.

End the stigma

This report highlights how “the suffering is enormous” around the world, he says. But the investment to address it has not increased. Only 2% of national health budgets, and less than 1% of all international health aid, is spent on mental health, the WHO report points out. “All these numbers are very, very low”deplores Mr. Van Ommeren.

The study highlights wide variations between countries in access to mental health care: while more than 70% of people with psychoses receive treatment in high-income countries, this rate drops to 12% in low-income countries.

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The report calls for an end to mental health stigma, pointing out that twenty countries still criminalize attempted suicide. He recalls that while one suicide attempt in twenty leads to death, suicide still represents more than one death in 100 worldwide.

“Investing in mental health is an investment in a better life and future for all”encourages WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, quoted in a statement.

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The World with AFP

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