In a recent report, the World Health Organization finds clear words about mental health worldwide: The corona pandemic has not only made numerous people physically but also mentally ill. "Mental health" has been neglected for decades.
The corona pandemic has led to a sharp increase in some mental illnesses. Cases of depression and anxiety disorders rose by 25 percent worldwide in the first year of the pandemic alone, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported when presenting its new report on mental health.
According to the WHO, almost a billion people worldwide are living with a mental illness. The number refers to 2019, the year before the corona pandemic. Almost every eighth person was affected. People with severe mental disorders die 10 to 20 years earlier than the general population, the report said.
"Mental health goes hand in hand with physical health," said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. "Investing in mental health is investing in a better life and future for everyone." Mental health has been neglected for decades, the report says. All countries must do more to help those affected.
Some of the main causes of depression are childhood sexual abuse, bullying or bullying. This must be actively counteracted: through social services, support for families with problems and programs for social and emotional learning in schools. Social and economic inequalities, wars, the climate crisis and health threats - like a pandemic - are risks that contribute to mental illness.
The WHO defines a mental illness as a significant disturbance in a person's cognition, emotion regulation, or behavior, usually associated with stress or impairment in important areas of functioning.
In Germany, more than one in four adults meets the criteria for a mental illness within a year, as reported by the specialist association DGPPN (German Society for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Psychosomatic Medicine and Neurology). According to them, the most common clinical pictures include anxiety disorders, depression and disorders caused by alcohol or drug use.
In many countries, those affected are still viewed obliquely and excluded, the WHO reported. It is important to include people with mental illnesses in all aspects of social life in order to counteract this. In all countries, the risk of mental illness is greatest among the poorest people, who are also the least likely to be treated. Even in developed countries, only a third of people with depression are treated by professionals.