World Health Organisation predicts huge increase in depression.

A World Health Organisation (WHO) report issued at the start of the first Global Mental Health Summit has predicted that in the next twenty years more people will be affected by depression than any other health problem.

WHO figures released this week stated that over 450 million people worldwide are directly affected by mental disorders or disabilities. But while the majority of people included in this figure live in developing countries, the WHO says these nations spend less than 2% of their national health budgets on mental healthcare.

The predicted increase in depression has been called a “silent epidemic”. WHO figures on this problem state that:

• About half of mental disorders begin before the age of 14.
• Around 20% of the world’s children and adolescents are estimated to have mental disorders or problems.
• Most low and middle-income countries have only one child psychiatrist for every 1 to 4 million people.
• About 800,000 people commit suicide every year, 86% of them in low and middle-income countries.
• More than half of the people who kill themselves are aged between 15 and 44.
• The highest suicide rates are found among men in eastern European countries.

Speaking on behalf of the WHO’s Department of Mental Health Dr Shekhar Saxena said: “WHO figures clearly show that the burden on society because of depression is likely to increase so that in 2030 this will be the single biggest cause for burden out of all health conditions.”

The Global Mental Health Summit, which is hosted by the Movement for Global Health, began in Athens on September 2nd. For more information please visit: