It has been revealed that the World Health Organisation’s new Mental Health Atlas has painted a disappointing picture of a worldwide failure to provide people with the mental health services they need.
The global health body said this was happening at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic was highlighting a growing need for mental health support.
It noted that the world had missed most of the 2020 mental health targets, and that the latest edition of the atlas, which includes data from 171 countries, provides a clear indication that the increased attention given to mental health in recent years has yet to result in a scale-up of quality mental services that is aligned with needs.
According to WHO, the Atlas is a compilation of data provided by countries around the world on mental health policies, issued every three years.
Others are legislation, financing, human resources, availability and utilisation of services and data collection systems.
It is also the mechanism for monitoring progress towards meeting the targets in WHO’s Comprehensive Mental Health Action Plan.
“It is extremely concerning that, despite the evident and increasing need for mental health services, which has become even more acute during the COVID-19 pandemic, good intentions are not being met with investment.
“We must heed and act on this wake-up call and dramatically accelerate the scale-up of investment in mental health, because there is no health without mental health,” the Director-General of WHO, Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, said.
The statement said that none of the targets for effective leadership and governance for mental health, provision of mental health services in community-based settings, mental health promotion and prevention, and strengthening of information systems, were close to being achieved.
It said that in 2020, just 51 percent of WHO’s 194 member states reported that their mental health policy or plan was in line with international and regional human rights instruments, way short of the 80 per cent target.
It said that only 52 percent of countries met the target relating to mental health promotion and prevention programmes, also well below the 80 per cent target.
So, if someone you know has depression, here is how you can help:
- Encourage regular eating, sleeping and exercise
- Encourage them to focus on the positive, rather than the negative
- Be patient, as recovery can take time