With global mental health worsening, WHO calls for more investment in the sector
Due to the increase in mental health problems worldwide during the Covid-19 pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) asked, in a document published this Thursday (17/6), that all nations make more investments in the sector, emphasizing that “the suffering is enormous”.
In 2020 alone, rates of depression and anxiety rose 25%, at a time when scarce health resources were focused on fighting the coronavirus.
If before Covid-19, almost 1 billion people lived with a mental disorder, according to a report by the UN agency on the situation of global mental health, the trend is that this number has suffered a drastic increase in recent years.
Despite the growth of interest in the subject, there was no improvement in the countries’ investments in the area. According to the WHO report, only 2% of national health budgets and less than 1% of all international aid are dedicated to mental health.
“All these numbers are very, very low,” WHO Mental Health Unit consultant Mark Van Ommeren told a news conference.
Inequality and stigma
The document also points out that one in eight people in the world lives with a mental illness. The World Report on Mental Health indicates that this reality is exacerbated in situations of inequality in access to care. In high-income countries, more than 70% of people with psychoses receive treatment, compared to 12% in low-income countries.
Recognizing difficulties and seeking expert help are the best ways to deal with times when the stress load is high.Getty Images
But how do you know when to seek help? The quality of mental health is determined by how we deal with feelingsGetty Images
Mentally healthy people are able to deal in a balanced way with conflicts, disturbances, traumas or important transitions in different life cycles. However, some signs can indicate when mental health is not good.Getty Images
Insomnia: if there is no quality sleep, it is impossible to recover the energy needed to move on to a new day. Sleep disorders are one of the main factors that affect people’s mental health.Getty Images
Stress: if irritation is recurrent and leads us to have increased reactions to small events, the red light should be triggered. If stress is accompanied by trouble sleeping, it’s time to seek help.Getty Images
Sudden changes in mood: mood depends on different situations, however, if the inconstancy is persistent it can be a signal from the body that something is not right and a change in habits may be necessary.Getty Images
Memory lapses: if the person begins to notice that their memory is failing in everyday life with very simple things, it is likely that they are experiencing an episode of mental exhaustion.Getty Images
Change in appetite: in food, the person who eats much more than he should use food as an outlet to relieve anxiety. Others completely lose their appetite.Getty Images
Low self-esteem: another warning sign is the feeling of incapacity, powerlessness and fragility. In this case, it is common for the person to feel less important and think that no one cares about them.Getty Images
Neglect with hygiene: one of the characteristics of depression is the loss of the will to take care of oneself. The person usually has compromised body hygiene and loses vanityGetty Images
Continuous feeling of sadness: unlike sadness, depression is an internal phenomenon, which does not need an event. The person becomes apathetic and does not feel like doing anythingGetty Images
To receive a diagnosis and start appropriate treatment, it is very important to consult a psychiatrist or psychologist. As soon as you notice that you don’t feel as well as you used to, look for a professional to help you find the causes of your discomfort.Getty Images
The report also calls for an end to stigmatization associated with mental health. According to the document, one in 20 suicide attempts leads to death, which is the cause of one in 100 deaths annually worldwide.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a statement that everyone, at some point in their lives, will have contact with someone who suffers from mental illness.
“Investing in mental health is investing in a better life and future for everyone”, he concludes.