WHO survey reveals mental health programmes to see greater demand

Mental health programmes is in the road to see greater demand as coronavirus cases rises, a World Health Organization (WHO) survey has indicated.

Mental health programmes is in the road to see greater demand as coronavirus cases rises, a World Health Organization (WHO) survey has indicated.

The WHO survey of 130 countries, including India, showes the devastating impact of COVID-19 on access to mental health services and underscores the need for increased funding.

“Although 89% of countries reported in the survey that mental health and psychosocial support is part of their national covid-19 response plans, only 17% of these countries have full additional funding for covering these activities,” the survey report stated. “This all highlights the need for more money for mental health. Spending 2% of national health budgets on mental health is not enough. International funders also need to do more: mental health still receives less than 1% of international aid earmarked for health.”

The survey was conducted from June to August among 130 countries across WHO’s six regions.

Bereavement, isolation, loss of income and fear are triggering mental health conditions, the WHO added. COVID-19 itself can lead to neurological and mental complications, such as delirium, agitation, and stroke.

“India already has the highest number of suicides globally. With the COVID-19 induced lockdown, self-harm and suicide ideation have upped. Other than creating awareness, reducing stigma related to help seeking, and providing psycho-social support, the government will need to increase socio-economic safety nets, and think of ways to support those suffering abuse,” Nelson Vinod Moses, Suicide Prevention India Foundation (SPIF) had said.

The World Health Organization pointed that pre-COVID estimates reveal that about $1 trillion in economic productivity is lost annually because of depression and anxiety. Studies have shown that every $1 spent on evidence-based care for mental health provides a return of $5.

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