The World Health Organisation (WHO) recently published the first global profile of mental health services4 and it clearly shows that mental illness, in most countries of the world, is simply not taken seriously. Forty per cent of countries have no mental health policies and 25% have no legislation in the field of mental health.
The availability of mental health professionals in large areas of the world is extremely poor. More than 680 million people, the majority of whom are in Africa and South Asia, have access to less than one psychiatrist per million of population.
Mental health cannot be viewed in isolation, for it influences, and is influenced by, development, gender, poverty, levels of education and awareness, the provision and implementation of policy and legislation, and issues of access to, and availability of, treatment and care. It follows that mental health is a significant part of the mainstream of health and development activity for any community anywhere.
A model in mental health and development: work in progress, presented at Staying Poor: Chronic Poverty and Development Policy, Institute for Development Policy and Management, University of Manchester, 7-9 April 2003. Chronic Poverty Research Centre (CPRC), Manchester, UK, 11 pp.