Mental illness is one of the great invisible burdens on developing societies, accounting for 4 of the 10 leading causes of disability worldwide
Rising Global Burden
“According to WHO, mental illnesses account for 14 percent of the global burden of disease. And by 2030, the organization predicts, that number will rise to 20 percent. What’s more, the leading causes of disability worldwide are depression and other mental disorders, which afflict more than 450 million people.” - Global Post, October 11, 2013.
In areas experiencing life- or lifestyle-threatening emergencies, the problem is even greater, as the number of people suffering from severe mental disorders increases and those with pre-existing mental illnesses are exposed to new levels of stress at the same time that existing mental health support infrastructure is weakened.
Physical/geographical displacement, food shortages and disease outbreaks are all-too-common during and after emergencies around the developed and the developing world. On top of this, families can be torn apart, children can lose educational opportunities, and important social and health services can disappear from the landscape overnight. It is perhaps not surprising, therefore, that the mental health impact of emergencies is sizable.
Rising to the Occasion
Emergency situations, in spite of the adversity and challenges created, can be opportunities to transform mental health care – opportunities not to be missed. Humanitarian assistance agencies try their best to help people with psychosocial needs in the immediate aftermath of emergencies, but too often do too little to integrate mental health systems into the existing landscape of social and health services. Thus, mental, neurological and substance use disorders continue to be the most neglected problems in public health across the globe. However, SalusWorld recognizes that mental health is crucial to the overall wellbeing and productivity of individuals, communities, and countries recovering from emergencies. We are committed to meeting these opportunities head on by promoting an innovated model of partnership between local and international organizations.
SalusWorld understands the devastating effect that mental illness has on the world’s poorest nations. Our approach to long-term treatment of trauma centers on enabling local providers to address the mental and emotional scars of their peers. This capacity-building model has been proven to work around the world and creates a ripple effect of empowerment and healing.
Based in solid theory, delivered by expert clinicians, and put into appropriate cultural context, SalusWorld’s sound, proven mental health interventions are changing lives and supporting socioeconomic advancements that allow entire communities to move past trauma. SalusWorld volunteer clinicians provide a variety of services that engage, empower, educate and ultimately, have impact.
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