Destigmatising Mental Health: A Global Imperative

In a more and more complicated world, a factor is looming large yet many times is in the shadows: mental health. This is an aspect of personal well-being that, in a very powerful way, determines people and its surroundings.

And yet, for all its ubiquity, mental health all too often is an arena replete with stigma, misperception, and neglect. The time has clearly now come to shine the spotlight on this most important subject and see it for what it truly is: a worldwide imperative to be addressed without delay.

The Global Burden

The figures paint a very bad picture of the magnitude and scope of the crisis. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), almost one person in every four people in the world is prone to have mental ill health at one point in life. Several studies across the world reveal that over 1.9 billion individuals are struggling with mental health disorders like depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder.

Besides, an economic burden that comes along with mental disorders is enumerated by the World Health Organization. For example, depression and anxiety take more than one trillion dollars every year from the global economy in the form of lost productivity. In addition to the economic cost, there is a substantial human cost that mental health problems exact in relation to increased rates of suicides, substance abuse, and problems with physical health.

Breaking Down Barriers 

Despite the commonness and gravity, however, access to treatment for mental disorders is woefully insufficient. In most parts of the world, there is an awful scarcity of mental health professionals and resources that are turning millions of people into undeserved individuals. Furthermore, the social stigma of mental illness and discrimination remains in such a way that people feel they cannot come forward to gain the support they actually need. Myths and misconceptions also perpetuate the stigma about mental health issues, shame, and silence.

A Call for Equity

It’s time to recognise mental health as a fundamental aspect of overall health and well-being.

In this regard, it should be realised that mental health diseases are not any different from the body organ-related physical ailments such as diabetes, heart complications, among many others. Efforts begin with prioritising mental health within the global health systems to ensure that affordable and well-resourced mental health services are incorporated into primary care. It calls for an investment in mental health education and awareness campaigns that are geared to fight against stigma but for the promotion of understanding.

The Way Forward 

Governments, health care providers and community organisations would need to share the responsibility and work together to tackle the global mental health crisis. Reduction of stigma for people suffering from mental illnesses, an increase in available treatment, and supportive environments for individuals with mental well-being. These can include anything from reaching out to a friend who may need help, supporting mental health within our own community, or even possibly challenging stereotypes and misconceptions associated with mental illness. In a nutshell, the impact of mental health in the world is very deeply interconnected. This will either affect all of us one way or the other, or command collective attention and action. Placing mental health on the same par as other diseases: an imperative with the same priority and urgency that the rest of the world gives to other diseases.

Contact us at KetaMind Clinics and see how we can help you.