Home Global News Shortage of Mental Health Professionals Globally: WHO

Shortage of Mental Health Professionals Globally: WHO

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Currently, the entire world is experiencing shortage of medical experts trained in mental health as well as a lack of investment in community-based mental health facilities.

Even though some countries have observed certain progress in policy-making and designing in this sector, the progress hasn’t really reached desirable levels, according to the WHO’s Mental Health Atlas 2017.

The report also highlighted that even now very few countries have established mechanisms for suicide prevention, despite the WHO estimating that almost 8,00,000 folks commit suicide annually. Despite a slight increase in the number of countries that have established their suicide prevention strategy after the report given by the Mental Health Atlas 2014, only a 3rd of upper-middle and high-income countries are rumored to have such techniques and mechanisms in place, with simply 10% of low- and lower-middle income countries reporting the practice of suicide-prevention techniques, the WHO said in a statement.

The revelations are supported by information provided by 177 WHO member states, which represent 97% of the world’s population, and these revelations, measure the extent to which countries are strengthening leadership and governance to work towards mental state and providing comprehensive mental state and social care.

The date provided conjointly takes under consideration the methods that have been enforced to promote mental health and prevent issues, and strengthen evidence and analysis given by the WHO’s Comprehensive Mental Health Action Plan

In low-income countries, the ratio of mental health professionals is often as low as 2 workers per 1,00,000 population, while the number of mental health professionals for the same population size goes up to 70 in high-income countries. This is in stark contrast to what has been envisioned as desirable for needs, given that one in each 10 people is estimated to require mental health care at a point of time.

Less than even half of the 139 countries that have instituted mentalhealth policies and plans, have aligned these plans with the human rights conventions that stress on the importance of transition of mental health programmes from psychiatric establishments to involve community-based services and engage the participation of people suffering from mental disorders in decisions regarding these plans, policies and programs.

And very frequently, once mental health policies are formulated, they’re not supported with adequate human and monetary resources.

The global rate of beds in mental hospitals was rumored to be six-fold of (11.3 per 1,00,000 population) the number of beds in psychiatric wards of general hospitals.

According to the released WHO report, levels of public expenditure on mental health are terribly low in low- and middle-income countries.

“Government expenditure on mental health is less than 1 US Dollar per capita in low and lower middle income countries whereas high-income countries spend more than USD 80. The majority of spending is going to mental hospitals, which serve a small proportion of those who need care,” the WHO aforesaid.

“Nobody should be missing out on mental health care because of the cost. That is why WHO’s push towards universal health coverage is so important: to ensure that everyone, everywhere, can access the care they need, including mental health care,” said Dr. Shekhar Saxena, Director of WHO’s Department of MentalHealth and Substance Abuse.