The latest data released by the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that nearly one billion people worldwide suffer from some form of mental disorder.
Data released on Friday said the staggering figure was even more concerning as it included around one in seven teenagers.
“To make matters worse, in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, rates of common illnesses such as depression and anxiety increased by more than 25%,” he said.
According to the data, social and economic inequalities, public health emergencies, war and climate crises are global structural threats to mental health.
The health body said depression and anxiety rose by more than 25% in the first year of the pandemic alone, suggesting recognition of the critical role mental health plays in sustainable development .
“Investing in mental health is an investment in a better life and future for all,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus.
Citing the latest available global data from 2019, Mr Ghebreyesus said that even before COVID-19 hit, only a small fraction of people in need of help had access to adequate, affordable and quality mental health treatment. quality.
He said more than 70% of people with psychosis worldwide do not get the help they need.
“The gap between rich and poor countries highlights the inequality in access to health care, as seven out of 10 people with psychosis receive treatment in high-income countries, compared to only 12% in low-income countries,” said Mr. Ghebreyesus.
According to him, the situation is more dramatic for cases of depression, indicating gaps in assistance in all countries, including high-income countries.
“Only a third of people with depression receive formal mental health care.
“Although high-income countries offer ‘minimally adequate’ treatment for depression in 23% of cases, this figure drops to just 3% in low- and lower-middle-income countries,” he said.
He added: “We must transform our attitudes, actions and approaches to promote and protect mental health and provide and care for those in need.”