This paper reassesses the nature of the epidemiological evidence underpinning one of the GBD (Global Burden of Disease) topics: the estimate for the global burden of depression. Specifically, we look at the quality and representativeness of data on prevalence and incidence of depression used for the 2000 GBD estimates, which stated that neuropsychiatric disorders contribute around 14% to the total disease burden and ranked depression as the fourth major cause of disease burden worldwide. These numbers are often cited to support further research and various initiatives in mental health - the 2001 World Health Report was devoted to mental health and in 2007 the Lancet published a series on Global Mental Health - and potentially divert resources from other health care priorities of developing countries.
Brhlikova, P.; Pollock, A.; Manners, R. Global burden of disease estimates of depression : time for a rethink. University of Edinburgh, (2009) 24 pp.