People with mental and psychosocial disabilities are among the most marginalized groups and the most vulnerable in a community, yet despite numerous pledges and pronouncements, many programmes continue to ignore and exclude this vulnerable group.
According to the World Health Organization Report, People with mental disabilities cannot be forgotten, the majority of development and poverty alleviation programmes do not reach persons with mental or psychosocial disabilities. For example, between 75% and 85% do not have access to any form of mental health treatment. Mental and psychosocial disabilities are associated with rates of unemployment as high as 90%. Furthermore people are not provided with educational and vocational opportunities to meet their full potential.
What is the impact of mental health problems?
Hundreds of millions of people worldwide have mental and psychosocial disabilities, including depression, post natal depression, schizophrenia, alcohol use disorders, epilepsy, and Alzheimer and other dementias. 80% of people with mental health conditions live in low and middle income countries.
Almost one million people die due to suicide every year, and it is the second leading cause of death in 15-29-year-olds. There are indications that for each adult who die of suicide there may have been more than 20 others attempting suicide.
The exclusion of children with mental and psychosocial disabilities from education leads to further marginalization of this already vulnerable group. Poor educational outcomes also lead to poor employment opportunities.
Unipolar depressive disorders, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and alcohol use disorders are placed among the top ten causes of disability due to health‐related conditions in all countries, as well as in low and middle income countries, where they represent a total of 19.1% of all disability related to health conditions.
The WHO report on mental health and development; Mental health and development: targeting people with mental health conditions as a vulnerable group call to action to all development stakeholders – governments, civil society, multilateral agencies, bilateral agencies, global partnerships, private foundations, academic and research institutions – to focus their attention on mental health. It makes the case for reaching out to this group through the design and implementation of appropriate policies and programmes and through the inclusion of mental health interventions into broader poverty reduction and development strategies. (www.who.int)
The OECD Report; Income Inequality and Poverty: There is widespread concern that economic growth has not been fairly shared, and that the economic crisis has only widened the gap between rich and poor. The Social Policy Division examines the trends and patterns in inequality and poverty for OECD and emerging countries. Its work analyses the multiple causes linked to growing inequalities, such as globalisation, technological change and changes in redistribution and policy fashion. It also assesses the effectiveness of social and labour market policies in tackling poverty and high inequalities. (www.oecd.org)