Health workers are central in providing mental health services
World Mental Day Statement
Geneva, 10 October 2012 - On the occasion of World Mental Health Day, the Global Health Workforce Alliance (The Alliance) wants to raise public awareness about mental health disorders and stresses the importance of health practitioners in the delivery of mental health services.
Mental health disorders, including depression, affect more than 350 million people worldwide and it is estimated to account for 14% of the global burden of disease. In low- and middle-income (LMIC) countries alone, there is a shortage of over a million mental health professionals. International mental health experts and leaders all agree that a shortage of trained mental health personnel represents one of the main barriers to improving mental health services in LMIC settings.
“Despite the existence of cost-effective strategies to treat people with mental health disorders, evidence indicates a considerable gap between the global burden of mental disorders and the human resources available for their treatment and prevention. We call on governments to scale-up their health services and systems devoted to mental health”, said Dr Mubashar Sheikh, Alliance Executive Director. “Psychiatrists, nurses in mental health settings and psychosocial care providers are at the heart of mental health systems. Without them, it would be impossible to adequately care for those in need. Mental health services do not rely on sophisticated medical equipment; they depend on well-trained health workers”, he added.
As we celebrate World Mental Health Day, the Alliance calls upon its members and partners to scale up efforts for recruitment and training of health workers worldwide ensuring a committed and motivated workforce to better serve our communities.