Worldwide 1 in 4 people suffer from mental problems. Of the total global burden of disease, fourteen percent is caused by mental problems, of which eighty percent is experienced in developing countries.
In developing countries – particularly in post conflict areas – people have often been exposed to violence and oppression for a long time, and social safety nets are mostly destroyed. These traumas are added to the psychological problems, caused by extreme poverty, discrimination, exclusion and alcohol abuse, that already existed before the conflict. After the violence families are torn apart, mutual trust is damaged, and violence is part of every day life. Many people experience extreme stress, anxiety and are mourning. This collective problem has severe negative consequences for the development of a country.
Reports from the World Health Organization (WHO) show that people with mental disorders are one of the most neglected groups in developing countries. Moreover, last week the United Nations announced that the non-communicable diseases (cardiovascular diseases, diabetes. Cancer and chronic lung diseases) should get priority; mental health is therewith falling behind again.
This is unacceptable and inefficient: especially mental health care is simple to administer, cheap and very effective. In most developing countries mental health care can be provided for two to three Euros a year per capita.
Every year on October 10th. World Mental Health Day is initiated. The day is supported by several international organizations such as the WHO. HealthNet TPO is working towards mental health care in low income countries, in addition to primary care, and tries to raise awareness in the Netherlands for the necessity of mental health.