Resource Spotlight: Global Mental Health From A Policy Perspective

Photo courtesy of  Nana B Agyei
Photo courtesy of Nana B Agyei

"Mental health is a critically important issue in global health today, and yet does not receive due policy attention," write the authors of a 2014 report.

However, the problem is widespread. The report points out mental illness will likely affect one in four people within their lifetime and neuropsychiatric conditions now account for 13 percent of the global burden of disease – with 70 percent of that burden in low- and middle-income countries.

From the report's executive summary:

The report focuses on mental health at a global level, but highlights the need for more detailed analysis at a more local level, given that policy traction is highly dependent on local context, actors and systems of decision-making.

By characterising the different aspects of mental health as a policy issue, it becomes easier to understand why it has
faced problems achieving policy influence to date and what opportunities there are to harness change. Characteristics
such as stigmatisation, heterogeneity, a recently emergent user movement, the individualistic nature of treatment, the role of the informal sector, low financial investment and lack of data, all act as barriers to achieving policy
traction (as well as appropriate access to care, prevention and treatment).

The authors point out that mental health can rise in importance by learning from the experience of other social movements in global health.

Please read the Global mental health from a policy perspective: a context analysis

For more information, please see the Mental Health subject area.

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