Global Mental Health deals with the international perspective on different aspects of mental health. It deals with the epidemiology – the science that studies the patterns of mental disorders.
The overall aim of the field of global mental health is to strengthen mental health all over the world by providing information about the mental health situation and identifying mental health care needs in order to develop cost-effective interventions to meet those specific needs.
There is a Stigma attached to mental illness, this exists when people do not fully understand mental illness and those affected by it can result in social isolation, and this can lead to difficulty in finding a job, getting an education, or finding housing. It can also result in unnecessary suffering from individuals that do not seek care.
Fact: Mental Illnesses are common
Each year, roughly 57 million Americans will be affected by one or more mental illnesses. Rough figures are denoted below:
- 40 million will suffer some type of anxiety disorder, such as panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, agoraphobia, or social phobia.
- 18 million will suffer from some form of depression
- 2.6 million will suffer from bipolar disorder
- 2.4 million will suffer from schizophrenia
Fact: Many people with mental illness recover and lead full lives
More safe and effective treatments exist today than ever before. As a result, studies have shown that many people with mental illnesses recover.
In fact, rates of successful treatment for mental illnesses are often as high as or even higher than those for common medical conditions, such as heart disease. For example:
- Panic disorder has a successful treatment rate of 70-90%
- Depression has a successful treatment rate of over 80%
- Schizophrenia has a successful treatment rate of roughly 60%
- Heart disease has a successful treatment rate of 45-50%
Many people with mental illnesses also lead productive and active professional and social lives.
Fact: Mental illness is not a character weakness
Mental illnesses are not a character weakness. They are the result of biological, psychological, and social factors. People with mental illness do not need to just pull themselves together. If they could do so easily, a formal diagnosis of a mental illness would be less likely.
Because mental illness will not go away through sheer willpower or by ignoring the problem, professional treatment is often needed to address the condition.
Fact: People with mental illness are not violent
Despite the fact that the media often depict people with mental illness as being dangerous, the vast majority are not violent. In fact, those suffering from mental illness are more likely to be a victim of violence than those in the general population.
It is estimated that one in four people in the world will be affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives. Although many effective interventions for the treatment of mental disorders are known, and awareness of the need for treatment of people with mental disorders has risen, the proportion of those who need mental health care but who do not receive it remains high.
Despite the knowledge needed, for the most part, there have not been substantial changes in the mental health care delivery during past years. Main reasons for this problem are public health priorities, lack of mental health policy and legislation in many countries, a lack of resources – financial and human resources, as well as inefficient resource allocation.
Information and evidence about cost-effective interventions to provide better mental health care are available. Although most of the research (80%) has been carried out in high-income countries, there is strong evidence from low- and middle-income countries that pharmacological and psychological interventions are effective ways to treat mental disorders, with the strongest being for depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and hazardous alcohol use.
Ebenezer Psychiatric Home has already embarked on educating the public with regard to Mental Health and for this reason, has put together an event, the annual Bell of Hope for Cycle Challenge for Mental Health. This event is in honour of National Bipolar Day. The primary function of this event is to raise funds to sustain Ebenezer Psychiatric Home, as well to educate the ignorant and help to remove the stigma attached.