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Mental Health Treatments Can Better A Country’s Economy

Dorathy Gass

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a country can see a $4 boost in economic and development growth, for each dollar spend towards bettering treatments on common mental health issues.

A study led by the organization reveals that common mental health disorders like depression and anxiety actually equals out to a cost of $1 trillion dollars to the world’s economy. In fact, these disorders are increasing globally, with 615 million people suffering from either anxiety or depression worldwide in 2013; which is up from the 416 million number in 1990.

Margaret Chan, director-general, WHO stated that they understand the treatment of anxiety and depression makes good sense as it relates to health and wellbeing, and she goes to say that this study now confirms the idea that is makes good sense when it comes to the economy too. She also stated the need to find ways to ensure that all men, women, and children worldwide can gain access to mental health treatments, regardless of where they live.

According to a 2014 WHO survey, Mental Health Atlas, on average, governments spend three percent of their country’s health budget on mental health. When it comes to low-income countries, that total is approximately less than one percent; while high-income nations would likely spend about five percent.

Rueters reported that Jim Yong Kim, president, World Bank Group chimed in, stating that mental health is not just an issue about public health, it also affects development. He goes on about the need for action, as this is now a global economy issue.

WHO will meet with the World Bank this week, during the World Bank/International Monetary Fund Spring Meetings in Washington. A high-level event, it will gather health and finance ministers, multifaceted organizations, and donors. The meetings are focused on moving the issue of mental health into the mainstream world development agenda.

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