• India has pushed the world into joining hands to fight against mental disorders like depression, anxiety, schizophrenia and bipolar disorders. 
  • With depression expected to be the leading cause of disease burden globally by 2030, the World Health Organization (WHO) has announced a resolution on "Global Burden of Mental Disorders and the need for a comprehensive, coordinated response at the country level" at the end of its annual board meeting on Jan 23.
  • The resolution was moved on January 20 by India in Geneva by Union health secretary P K Pradhan. 
  • WHO urged member states to develop comprehensive policies and strategies that address the promotion of mental health, prevention of mental disorders and early identification, care, support, treatment and recovery. It also asked governments the need to promote human rights, tackle stigma, address poverty and homelessness, tackle major modifiable risks, create opportunities for generating income, provide housing and education and healthcare service. 
  • According to WHO, mental disorders account for 13% of the global burden of diseases. Unipolar depressive disorder is the third leading cause of disease burden, accounting for 4.3% of the global burden of disease. 
  • Union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad says an estimated one million Indians are in need of mental health services. He adds that one in four families is likely to have at least one member with a behavioural or mental disorder. 
  • WHO said mental disorders account for 25.3% and 33.5% of all years lived with a disability in low and middle-income countries, respectively. Surveys among people affected by conflicts have found prevalence rates of 17% and 15% for depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, respectively. 
  • The gap between the need for treatment for mental disorders is wide all over the world. For example, between 76% and 85% of people with severe mental disorders receive no treatment for their mental health problem in low and middle-income countries; the corresponding range for high-income countries is also high: between 35% and 50%. 
  • People with mental disorders have high mortality rates. For example, people with schizophrenia and major depression have an overall increased risk of mortality 1.6 and 1.4 times, respectively, greater than that of the general population because of physical health problems (such as cancer, diabetes, and HIV infection as well as the serious consequences such as suicide) associated with mental disorders.