Out of the Shadows: Making mental health a global development priority
Mental disorders impose an enormous burden on society, accounting for almost one in three years lived with disability globally. In addition to their health impact, mental disorders cause a significant economic burden due to lost economic output and the link between mental disorders and costly, potentially fatal conditions including cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, HIV, and obesity. Eighty percent of the people likely to experience an episode of a mental disorder in their lifetime come from low- and middle-income countries. Two of the most common forms of mental disorders, anxiety and depression, are prevalent, disabling, and respond to a range of treatments that are safe and effective. Yet, owing to stigma and inadequate funding, these disorders are not being treated in most primary care and community settings. Confronting mental disorders will require new sources of funding to bridge current resource gaps. Investment from a combination of national governments and international development partners could bridge these gaps and result in cost-effective mental health interventions. This funding will provide a strong return on investment, with scale-up leading to good returns in restored productivity as well as improved health.