Making Mental Health a Global Priority (The Dana Foundation):
“Who hasn’t felt a sense of loss or detachment from our families, friends, and regular routines, or experienced nervousness and anxiety about changes in our personal and professional lives? For some, fear and worry constantly distract, confuse, and agitate. For others, frequent and severe bouts of depression are a debilitating daily burden that interferes with family, career, and social responsibilities. All too often, such problems lead to alcohol or drug abuse, self-destructive behavior, or even suicide…The social costs of mental- and substance-use disorders, including depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, and drug and alcohol abuse, are enormous. Studies estimate that at least 10 percent of the world’s population is affected, including 20 percent of children and adolescents. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that mental disorders account for 30 percent of non-fatal disease burden worldwide and 10 percent of overall disease burden, including death and disability…
Information and communications technology (ICT) can be a useful instrument for global mental health. It offers alternative modes of mental health care delivery when resources are scarce, and new ways to address long-standing obstacles that hinder access to care, such as transportation barriers, stigma associated with visiting mental health clinics, clinician shortages, and high costs. These platforms, especially in mobile formats, can offer remote screening, diagnosis, monitoring, and treatment, and remote training for non-specialist healthcare workers. They can be instrumental in developing and delivering highly specific, contextualized interventions. Overall, ICT for mental health has a potentially important supporting function for specialized care and community mental-health care, and could enhance and enable informal approaches and self-care as well…Governments should work with the private sector, academia, and the medical establishment to develop and adapt these tools to advance the mental health agenda.
…As we move forward with this task, we should be guided by the belief that the agonies of mental health problems that blight and distort lives and communities and that impose a heavy economic and social burden on the planet can be dealt with effectively—if there is political commitment, broad social engagement, additional funding, and international support to make mental health an integral part of health care and promotion across the globe.”
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