Author: Valentina Iemmi
Background Mental disorders are the leading cause of years lived with disability worldwide. While over three-quarters of people with mental disorders live in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) and effective low-cost interventions are available, resource commitments are extremely limited. This paper seeks to understand the role of philanthropy in this area and to inform discussions about how to increase investments.
Methods Novel analyses of a dataset on development assistance for health were conducted to study philanthropic development assistance for mental health (DAMH) in 156 countries between 2000 and 2015.
Results Philanthropic contributions more than doubled over 16 years, accounting for one-third (US$364.1 million) of total DAMH 2000–2015. However, across health conditions, mental disorders received the lowest amount of philanthropic development assistance for health (0.5%). Thirty-seven of 156 LMICs received no philanthropic DAMH between 2000 and 2015 and just three LMICs (Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines) received more than US$1 philanthropic DAMH per capita over the entire period. Eighty-one percent of philanthropic DAMH was disbursed to unspecified locations.
Conclusions Philanthropic donors are potentially playing a critical role in DAMH, and the paper identifies challenges and opportunities for increasing their impact in sustainable financing for mental health.
Citation: Iemmi V (2020) Philanthropy for global mental health 2000-2015. Global Mental Health, 7(e9): 1–6.