Call to invest more in mental health services | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, August 30, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, August 30, 2020

Call to invest more in mental health services

Mental health is one of the most neglected areas of public health. Close to 1 billion people are living with a mental disorder, 3 million people die every year from the harmful use of alcohol and one person dies every 40 seconds by suicide. And now, billions of people around the world have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, which is having a further impact on people's mental health.

Yet, relatively few people around the world have access to quality mental health services. In low- and middle-income countries, more than 75% of people with mental, neurological and substance use disorders receive no treatment for their condition at all. Furthermore, stigma, discrimination, punitive legislation and human rights abuses are still widespread.

That is why to encourage public action around the world, a World Mental Health Day campaign, Move for mental health: let's invest will kick off in September 2020 to call for a massive scale-up in investment in mental health.

With the disruption in health services, countries are finding innovative ways to provide mental health care, and initiatives to strengthen psychosocial support have sprung up. Yet, because of the scale of the problem, the vast majority of mental health needs remain unaddressed as countries spend on average only 2% of their health budgets on mental health. The response is hampered by chronic under-investment in mental health promotion, prevention and care for many years before the pandemic.

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