WHO Report Urges Greater Attention to Mental Health
Twenty-five percent of the world's population will suffer from mental health or brain disorders during their lifetime, but few will seek or receive treatment, according to a World Health Organization report released yesterday, the AP/Dallas Morning News reports. The report, "Mental Health: New Understanding, New Hope," found that while 450 million people currently suffer from "mental or neurological conditions," 40% of countries have no mental health policy, and 67% spend 1% or less of their annual health budget on mental health. Further, half of the world's nations have one psychiatrist per 100,000 residents. The report also found that even when assistance is available, nearly 67% of people suffering from a known mental disorder never seek help, and one million people commit suicide each year. According to the report, more than 80% of schizophrenics could be free of relapses after one year with appropriate medications and "adequate family support." In addition, the report found that as much as 60% of people with depression could "recover" with "proper antidepressants and therapy." WHO "urged" countries to "draw up better policies" for mental health problems, including drug and alcohol abuse. The organization also suggested that governments "shift away" from large psychiatric hospitals to "better community care programs" and do more to "ensure availability" of medications (AP/Dallas Morning News, 10/5). To read the full WHO report, go to www.who.int/whr/.This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.