Mental Health Awareness Month

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Below are some facts about mental health! 

Mental Health Facts

  • About 20% of the world’s children and adolescents have mental health disorders and problems.
    • Approximately half of mental disorders start before the age of 14. 
  • Mental and substance use disorders are the leading cause of disability in the world.
    • Approximately 23% of all years lost because of disability is caused by mental and substance use disorders. 
  • Approximately 800,000 people commit suicide every year.
    • Suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15-29 year olds. 
    • For every adult who commits suicide, there may have been 20 or more who have attempted to commit suicide. 
    • 75% of suicides occur in low- and middle-income countries. 
  • War and disasters have a significant impact on mental health and psychosocial well-being. 
    • Mental disorder rates are doubled after emergencies. 
  • Mental disorders are risk factors for other diseases especially unintended and intended injury. 
    • Mental disorders increase the risk of getting
      • HIV
      • Cardiovascular Disease
      • Diabetes
  • Stigma and discrimination against patients and families prevent people from seeking mental health care. 
    • The stigma can lead to 
      • Abuse
      • Rejection
      • Isolation
      • Exclusion
  • Human rights violations of people with mental psychosocial disabilities are commonly reported in most countries. 
    • Few countries have legal framework to protect the rights of those with mental disorders. 
  • Globally, there is a huge inequity in the distribution of skilled human resources for mental health. 
    • Low-income countries have 0.05 psychiatrists and 0.43 nurses per 100,000 people. 
    • For high income countries, this rate is 170x greater for psychiatrists and 70x greater for nurses. 
  • There are 5 barriers to increasing mental health services availability.  
    • The five barriers are
      • Absence of Mental Health from the Public Health Agenda and Implications of Funding
      • Current Organization of Mental Health Services
      • Lack of Integration Within Primary Care
      • Inadequate Human Resources for Mental Health
      • Lack of Public Mental Health Leadership
  • Financial services to increase services are relatively modest. 
    • The financial resources needed are
      • Low-Income Countries: US $2.00 per capita per year
      • Lower Middle-Income Countries: US $3.00-4.00 per capita per year

For more information, go to

Information Courtesy of the WHO