Mental health

Mental health evidence and research (MER)

The Mental Health: Evidence and Research team (MER) at WHO is deeply committed to closing the gap between what is needed and what is currently available to reduce the burden of mental disorders worldwide and to promote mental health.

The MER team transforms this objective into action through the following core projects: Atlas, WHO-AIMS and Mental Health in Emergencies. All of these projects aim to increase the information and evidence base on mental health. In turn, this information can be used to strengthen mental health care systems which will result in better care and services to individuals and communities. Detailed information is provided on each of these projects through the links below.

Core projects

Mental Health Atlas

Mental Health Atlas Project is designed to collect and disseminate data on mental health resources such as policies, plans, financing, care delivery, human resources, medicines, and information systems in the world. The project started in 2001 and the data was updated in 2005, 2011 and 2014.


The World Health Organization Assessment Instrument for Mental Health Systems (WHO-AIMS) is a new WHO tool for collecting essential information on the mental health system of a country or region. The goal of collecting this information is to improve mental health systems and to provide a baseline for monitoring the change.

Mental Health in Emergencies

The target group for WHO work on mental health in emergencies is any population exposed to extreme stressors, such as refugees, internally displaced persons, disaster survivors, and terrorism, or war-exposed populations. Click below for more information and resources on mental health in emergencies.

Key publications

Mental Health Atlas 2011

The WHO Mental Health Atlas 2011 represents the latest estimate of global mental health resources available to prevent and treat mental disorders and help protect the human rights of people living with these conditions. It presents data from 184 WHO Member States, covering 98% of the world’s population.

Latest publications

Mental Health Atlas 2014

With data from 171 of WHO’s Member States, Mental Health Atlas 2014 provides a comprehensive overview of mental health policies, plans and services worldwide.

Promoting rights and community living for children with psychosocial disabilities

This joint WHO/Gulbenkian publication provides guidance on services and supports required to end institutionalization of children and ensure that they can live and thrive in the community.

WHO MIND Project