Mental health disorders around the world predicted to cost trillions

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Mental health disorders are expected to drain 16 trillion US dollars (£12 trillion) per year from the global economy by 2030, experts have said.

In every country on the planet, the burden of mental illness is rising, according to the authors of a new report.

The Lancet Commission on Global Mental Health and Sustainable Development urged high income countries such as the UK to spend 10% of their health care budget on mental health.

Currently mental health received less than 5%, even in these richer nations.

Low and middle income countries should raise their spending on mental health from less than 1% of the budget to at least 5%, said the Commission, which brought together 28 experts from around the world.

Speaking on World Mental Health Day, Commission joint lead editor Professor Vikram Patel, from Harvard Medical School in the US, said: “Mental health is the foundation of human capability that makes each life worthwhile and meaningful.

“It is for this reason that there can be no sustainable development without attention to mental health.

“Anyone who cares about poverty, education, social cohesion or economic progress should work to improve mental health, putting the vast knowledge we have on promotion, prevention and care, into action.”

The report, launched at the first Global Ministerial Mental Health Summit in London, said people with mental illness still suffered “gross human rights violations” in many countries.

These included shackling, torture and imprisonment. The Commission called for a human rights approach to dealing with mental health conditions.

Dr Richard Horton, editor-in-chief of The Lancet journal, said: “The Commission calls out the shameful and shocking treatment of people with mental ill health around the world.”

He added: “Everyone is dignity, autonomy and freedom from discrimination.”

The Commission also recommended a “wholesale shift to community-based care” for the mentally ill.

Community health workers, GPs, peers, teachers, and clergy should all play a role, the report said.

Special emphasis should be given to helping children and teenagers, who were facing rising rates of mental illness, the experts added.

Professor Helen Herrman, president of the World Psychiatric Association, said: “We’ve seen a rise in mental illness in young people when, with all the knowledge we have, we should be seeing a decrease.”

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