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  • Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide. It affects 350 million people.


  • In low and middle-income countries, public expenditures on mental health average less than US $2 per capita.


  • Low income countries average 0.05 psychiatrists and 0.42 nurses per 100,000 people, while high income countries may have more than 50 per 100,000 population


  • The median number of mental health beds per 100,000 population is less than five in low and lower-middle income countries and more than 50 per 100,000 population in high income countries. Equally large disparities exist for outpatient services and welfare support.




  • About half of mental disorders begin before the age of 14.


  • Around 20 percent of the world's children and adolescents are estimated to have mental disorders or problems; it is similar across cultures.  The regions of the world with the highest percentage of population under age 19 have the lowest levels of mental health resources.


  • Most low- and middle-income countries have only 1 child psychiatrist for every 1 to 4 million people.


Disasters and Economic Impacts


  • Mental disorders are among the risk factors for communicable and non-communicable diseases.  They can also contribute to unintentional and intentional injury.


  • It is projected that by 2030 unipolar depressive disorders will be the leading cause of productive years lost to disability, ahead of heart disease, traffic accidents, and HIV/AIDS.


  • A loss of productivity results in a loss of income.  This, in turn, can produce deleterious health consequences due to hardships such as poorer nutrition or increased stress.




  • Efforts to rebuild war torn societies are hindered by the failure to address psychological consequences of trauma.


  • Data from Rwanda indicate that exposure to the trauma of genocide in 1994 was strongly correlated with PTSD symptoms 11 years later in 2005.


  • PTSD symptoms were associated with lower physical functioning, more bodily pain, lower general health, etc.



Source: World Health Organization

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