Is mental health part of global health?

Global mental health is an evolving field of research and practice that aims to alleviate mental suffering through the prevention, care and treatment of mental and substance use disorders, and to promote and maintain the mental health of individuals and communities around the world. 1.PAHO's regional plan for Action on Mental Health includes the development and implementation of promotion and prevention programs in the context of mental health systems and services. The initiative will promote policies, advocacy and human rights, and expand quality interventions and services for people with mental health problems, including substance use and neurological disorders. An obvious reason is the historical marginalization of the mental health field from physical health.

Examples of comprehensive strategies for the promotion of mental health and the prevention of lifelong mental illness include information campaigns, rights promotion, skills programs for early childhood and for life, provision of healthy working conditions, and programs to protect against child abuse and other types of domestic and community violence. WHO recommends that the allocation of health expenditure be commensurate with the health burden and that there be parity between the physical and mental aspects of health care. This special WHO initiative seeks to ensure universal health coverage that involves access to quality and affordable care for mental illness in 12 countries for an additional 100 million people. The World Health Organization (WHO) conceptualizes mental health as a “state of well-being in which the individual realizes their own abilities, can cope with the normal stress of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to their community.

Saxena I fully agree with your comments and your reflection on the challenges faced by people with mental illness when it comes to health coverage (insurance). Fracarita International promotes the rights of people with mental health problems and talks with governments to improve these rights, addresses health coverage (insurance) and social inclusion. In the past, when mental health researchers lacked adequate tools or global databases to measure the social and economic costs of nonfatal illnesses and injuries globally, it was difficult to report the devastating effects of psychiatric illnesses and other behavioral health disorders, such as substance abuse, to policy makers and those who control research funding. Jeffrey Lieberman, psychiatrist and director of the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University, analyzes the world in which a public health approach to clinical care and mental health prevention without stigma can be promoted.

The development and establishment of policies and programs for the promotion and prevention of mental health are a necessary part of regional efforts to improve the mental health of the general population. The allocation of resources to combat mental health disorders is surprisingly well correlated with a nation's wealth. Low-income countries spend about 0.5% of their health budget on mental health services, and high-income countries spend 5.1%.

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