About a billion people in the world have neurological problems or suffer from mental health problems. Among children and adolescents, one in five suffers from mental disorders. These figures were recalled by the World Health Organization (WHO) and urged to urgently support psychological services.
Even before COVID-19, mental health programs averaged about 2 percent of the health budget, which the WHO claims is very small. The organization warns that as the pandemic continues, so will the number of mental disorders, so urgent financial support for mental health is needed more than ever.
The psychological assistance system is chronically underfunded
“The experience of past emergencies teaches us that there will be many more people in need of mental health and psychosocial assistance in the coming months and years. It is now more important than ever to invest in the development of national and international mental health programs, which have suffered from chronic underfunding for many years,” the WHO stressed.
On the occasion of World Mental Health Day, which is celebrated on 10 October, WHO stressed that health is a fundamental human right and called for all people with mental disorders to receive the necessary treatment.
This year’s campaign aims to increase investment in mental health in order to avoid the dire consequences of a lack of funding for the patient, family and communities at large.
According to the WHO, people with severe mental disorders such as schizophrenia die on average 10–20 years earlier than the bulk of the population. Many of them, without receiving help, commit suicide. Suicide annually takes the lives of 800 thousand people – this means that every 40 seconds one person voluntarily dies. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people aged 15–29 years.
The study shows that Americans spent more money on drugs in 2021
In 2021, 40 percent of people spent more money on buying drugs or, for example, rehabilitation. For a quarter of respondents who took out loans because of the crisis, health care costs became the cause of debt.
During the pandemic, 23 percent of people were in debt. Americans over 50 spent money on health more often than others and even had to take out loans. According to the survey, one of the most demanded services was payday loans Texas. If approved for a loan, you should expect to have the money in your bank account in a few hours or even immediately. To get accepted, you only need to legally reside in Texas, have a bank account in your name, a steady income (any type is suitable) and some kind of identity verification. The process can be completed online in just 10-15 minutes from the comfort of your home. Payday loans can be used for whatever purpose, including to cover bills for medical services and buying expensive drugs.
The availability of psychological assistance lags far behind the need for it
Today, quality mental health care is available to a relatively small number of people in the world. More than 75 percent of people with mental disorders in low- and middle-income countries do not receive the treatment they need at all.
The continuing deficit in mental health care is the result of a chronic lack of funding for this health sector for many decades. In addition, stigmatization and discrimination against people with mental disorders continues to prevail in many countries.
All this also results in economic losses. For example, productivity losses due to the two most common mental disorders – depression and anxiety disorder – cost the global economy $1 trillion annually.
On average, countries today spend less than 2 percent of their government health budget on mental health. And aid to developing countries for mental health has never exceeded one percent of all funds for health development.
But there is good news as well. Today, many mental disorders such as depression and anxiety disorder are treatable with communication therapy, drugs, or a combination of the two.
The economic return for every dollar invested in expanding treatment for depression and anxiety disorder is $5. One dollar invested in evidence-based drug dependence treatment yields an economic benefit of $7 in lower crime and lower costs of the criminal justice system. Regular medical examination of people with severe mental health problems helps prevent premature death.
WHO called for increased funding and improved quality of mental health services for the population.