In October 2011, the WHO published a report detailing the serious lack of funding and investment in treatment of the growing problem of global mental illness. The study indicated that mental illness accounts for 13% of global disease burden. Major depression is expected to be the leading component of mental illness worldwide by 2030. In an April 2012 Lancet opinion piece, Rachel Hock of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and colleagues argue for the urgency of a coordinated and holistic response to the global burden of mental illness.
The resolution for mental health will be adopted by the World Health Assembly in May 2012. The WHO will then develop a mental health action plan that must be approved by UN member states in 2013. Following approval, increased resources will be allocated to global mental healthcare initiatives. Hock and colleagues note that there has been ample evidence in recent years that mental healthcare is vastly improved by interventions on the individual, family, school, and community levels and that screening for depression in primary care settings has proved extremely effective. Unfortunately, few of these findings have been implemented extensively, especially at a global level. At present, many countries allocate less than 1% of their total healthcare spending to mental healthcare. In a passionate conclusion, Hock et al. call upon UN member states to not only insist upon coordinated care for mental illness but also to capitalize on the momentum of the 2011 mental health resolution to ensure the prioritization of better mental healthcare across the globe.
For more information, see the Lancet article at http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736%2812%2960243-8/fulltext?rss=yes