WHO reports global investment gap in mental health

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The World Health Organization’s (WHO) new Mental Health Atlas paints a disappointing picture of a global failure to provide people with the mental health services they need.

In a statement made available on Saturday, he said this happened at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted a growing need for mental health support.

“The world is missing most of the mental health goals for 2020; the extension of the WHO action plan for mental health to 2030 offers a new opportunity for progress reading time, four minutes (1,003 words).

“The latest edition of the atlas, which includes data from 171 countries, makes it clear that the increased attention given to mental health in recent years has not yet resulted in a scaling up of quality mental services. that match the needs. the world health agency said.

According to the WHO, the Atlas is a compilation of data provided by countries around the world on mental health policies, published every three years.

Others are legislation, funding, human resources, availability and use of services and data collection systems.

According to the world health body, it is also the mechanism for monitoring progress towards achieving the goals of the WHO Comprehensive Plan of Action for Mental Health.

“It is of great concern that, despite the obvious and growing need for mental health services, which has become even more acute during the COVID-19 pandemic, good intentions are not being met with investments.

“We must heed this red flag and act accordingly and dramatically accelerate the increase in investment in mental health, because there is no health without mental health,” said Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, director General of the WHO. .

The release states that none of the goals for effective leadership and governance for mental health, the delivery of mental health services in community settings, the promotion and prevention of mental health, and the strengthening of information systems. is about to be reached.

He said that in 2020, only 51% of the 194 WHO Member States reported that their mental health policy or plan was in line with international and regional human rights instruments, well below that 80% target.

He said only 52 percent of countries met the target for mental health promotion and prevention programs, also well below the 80 percent target.

WHO noted that the only target achieved for 2020 was a reduction in the suicide rate by 10%, but even then only 35 countries reported having a stand-alone prevention strategy, policy or plan.

He said steady progress, however, was evident in adopting mental health policies, plans and laws, as well as improving the ability to report on a set of mental health indicators. basic.

He said that, however, the percentage of government health budgets spent on mental health has hardly changed in recent years, still hovering around two percent.

“In addition, even when policies and plans included estimates of the human and financial resources required, only 39% of responding countries indicated that the necessary human resources had been allocated and 34% that the required financial resources had been provided. “

He said that while the systematic decentralization of mental health care to community settings has long been recommended by the WHO, only 25% of responding countries meet all the criteria for integrating mental health into primary care.

He said that although progress has been made in training and supervision in most countries, the supply of drugs for mental health disorders and psychosocial care in primary health care services remains limited.

According to her, this is also reflected in the way public funds are allocated to mental health, highlighting the urgent need for deinstitutionalization.

He said more than 70 percent of total government spending on mental health was allocated to mental hospitals in middle-income countries, compared to 35 percent in high-income countries.

“This indicates that centralized mental hospitals and institutional hospital care still receive more funds than services provided in general hospitals and primary health care centers in many countries.

“There has been, however, an increase in the percentage of countries reporting that treatment for people with specific mental health problems (psychosis, bipolar disorder and depression) is included in national health insurance or reimbursement schemes – from 73 percent in 2017 to 80 percent. one hundred (or 55 percent of Member States) in 2020.

“Global estimates of people receiving care for specific mental health problems (used as an indicator of mental health care as a whole) have remained below 50%, with a global median of 40% of people suffering from depression and depression. only 29% of people. with psychosis receiving care.

“More encouraging has been the increase in the number of countries reporting mental health promotion and prevention programs, from 41% of Member States in 2014 to 52% in 2020.

“However, 31% of the total reported programs did not have dedicated human and financial resources, 27% did not have a defined plan, and 39% had no documented evidence of progress and / or impact.

“The global median number of mental health workers per 100,000 population has increased slightly from nine workers in 2014 to 13 workers per 100,000 population in 2020.

“However, there was a very strong variation between countries of different income levels, with the number of mental health workers in high-income countries more than 40 times higher than in low-income countries,” he said. he declared.

He said the global goals mentioned in the Atlas of Mental Health come from the WHO Comprehensive Plan of Action for Mental Health, which contained goals for 2020 approved by the World Health Assembly in 2013.

He said the plan has now been extended until 2030 and includes new goals for including mental health and psychosocial support in emergency preparedness plans.

He said others are integrating mental health into primary health care and mental health research.

“New data from the Atlas of Mental Health shows us that we still have a very long way to go to ensure that everyone, everywhere, has access to quality mental health care.

“But I am heartened by the renewed vigor we have seen from governments as the new 2030 goals have been discussed and agreed upon and I am confident that together we can do what is necessary to take small steps. by leaps and bounds over the next 10 years.

“We must heed this red flag and act accordingly and dramatically accelerate the increase in investment in mental health, because there is no health without mental health,” said Dévora Kestel, director of the Department. from mental health and addiction to WHO.

He said none of the goals for effective leadership and governance for mental health, the provision of mental health services in community settings, the promotion and prevention of mental health, and the strengthening of information systems are n was close to being reached. (NAA)

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