Consider This

Following 2007 publication (in The Lancet) of articles about the significant global burden of mental illnesses, a worldwide advocacy movement has grown.The current issue of The Lancet) revisits this on the eve an international conference opening in Athens in September asking for parity for mental health.

"The Movement for Global Mental Health believe that mental health should take an equal place next to other great global health programmes of the day, including HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria."

The burden of depression, for example, ranks third in the United Kingdom, and accounts for "40% of all disability, and is a major social problem." Elsewhere, gaps exist between low- and middle-income countries, and stratification based on race, class and ethnicity exist internally. "Most low-income and middle-income countries devote less than 1% of their health expenditure to diagnosis and treatment of mental illness." Major steps could improve this at a cost roughly of $2 US per person.

Whatever dollar costs are associated with mental illness, repairing them is also a crisis of morality, writes Arthur Kleinman: "The fundamental truth of global mental health is moral: individuals with mental illness exist under the worst of moral conditions."

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Phyllis Vine

Consider This

by Phyllis Vine

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