Common mental disorders lead to considerable losses in health and functioning in rich and poor communities alike, and the prevalence of these mental disorders is increasing, particularly in low and middle-income countries. Unipolar major depression ranks as the leading cause of disability in the world and manic-depressive illness, alcohol abuse, anxiety disorders and schizophrenia fall into the top ten causes of disability world-wide.
350 million people suffer from depression worldwide and the numbers are on the increase. The number of people living with depression has increased by 18,4 % from 2005 to 2015. Depression is also a major contributor to the average of 800 000 suicide deaths a year. Anxiety disorders affect 3,4% of the world’s population.
Over the past few decades new and innovative treatments for mental disorders have emerged from ongoing research on the basic biology of mental disorders. Many illnesses are very treatable, especially with early diagnoses and intervention. In particular, early diagnosis can prevent the illness getting worse or lasting a long time. Tragically, many people do not receive treatment.
Why treatment isn't offered
Why is proven and affordable care for mental disorders not provided? Some of the barriers to treatment include; a public lack of awareness of symptoms and the necessity for treatment, the stigma attached to seeking help, lack of referral by primary care providers to mental health resources, lack of insurance for medications, inadequate numbers of hospital beds for mental illness and low priority given to mental health.
Some important myths and facts about mental illness and recovery:
It is a myth that children don’t experience mental health problems. Half of all mental health disorders show first signs before a person turns 14 years old, and three quarters of mental health disorders begin before age 24, which makes the young particularly vulnerable.