Mental Illness Recognized as Major Global Issue
The World Health Organization says it's costing the world $1 trillion per year.
Mental health is now a top priority for the World Health Organization, a group well known for battling infectious, physical diseases.
The WHO made the announcement at a conference this week in Washington D.C., where government officials, medical professionals and representatives from aid groups are discussing the issue. Mental well-being will now be fully incorporated into the group's broader goal of promoting health around the world.
In an interview with NPR, the WHO's Dr. Shekhar Saxena said that depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses are costing the world more than $1 trillion per year.
That's in line with a study that was recently published in The Lancet Psychiatry. In that same interview, Saxena pointed out that many countries have severely underfunded mental health programs, alluding to places that have a population of 19 million, but only three psychiatrists.
Top photo: A man suffering from mental illness sits chained on a bed in his room inside his family home in Curug Sulanjana village in Serang, Banten province, Indonesia March 23, 2016. In a program launched this year, Indonesia sends teams of workers into often-remote hamlets to help free patients kept in chains and ensure they get the medical treatment they need. (Reuters / Beawiharta)