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Addressing mental health globally

Posted on 04/12/2014
All-Party Parliamentary Groups report on mental health

A new report issued jointly by the All-Party Parliamentary Groups (APPG) on Global Health and Mental Health acknowledges mental health is a challenge that needs to be tackled on a global level.

The report benefitted from evidence supplied by several researchers from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) including Graham Thornicroft, Professor of Community Psychiatry and Rachel Jenkins, Emeritus Professor of Epidemiology and International Mental Health Policy. It was also Co-Chaired by Lord Nigel Crisp, who chairs the Global Health Advisory Board at King’s Health Partners. The recommendations made in the report are likely to galvanise The Department for International Development (DfID) and relevant NGOs to put the treatment of mental health much higher on their agendas. 

The report reveals that that 85% of people with mental health problems live in low or middle income countries where often fewer than 10% receive effective care and treatment. In addition, mental health accounts for 23% of disability around the world and costs £1.6 trillion each year. The All-Party Parliamentary Groups recognised that the trend of globalisation makes healthcare provision more interconnected and that environmental and epidemiological threats should be increasingly tackled with a global-level and integrated approach that fully addresses mental health.

Professor Graham Thornicroft said: “This extremely well argued and presented report makes several issues crystal clear. Firstly: mental illnesses are killer diseases as people with these conditions on average die up to 20 years earlier in rich countries, and up to 30 years earlier in low income countries. Secondly: across the world we are failing miserably to provide care in proportion to the scale of need. It is truly a scandal that in many countries only about 10% of people with mental health problems receive any care. Thirdly: it is unconscionable that the Millennium Development Goals failed to mention mental health at all.

“An initiative called FundaMentalSDG (see www.FundaMentalSDG.org and #FundaMentalSDG) has now brought together over 30 leading mental health organisations across the world to ensure that the new United Nations Sustainable Development Goals include a specific target related to mental health. It is now time to act to support more and better mental health care worldwide.”

For further information contact Tom Bragg, Press Officer at IoPPN, King’s College London, on +44(0)2078485377 or email ioppn-pr@kcl.ac.uk

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