Skip to main content

Advertisement

Global Mental Health Resources and Services: A WHO Survey of 184 Countries

Article metrics

Abstract

Data derived from the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Mental Health Atlas Project 2011 are presented. These data provide the latest estimates on available resources for the treatment and prevention of neuropsychiatric disorders covering 98 percent of the world’s population. Resources are defined in terms of governance, financing, mental health care delivery, human resources, essential medicines, and information systems. The Atlas project was initiated to guide policy and planning efforts in order to meet the large and growing burden of neuropsychiatric disorders worldwide. Results indicate that 60 percent of countries have a dedicated mental health policy; 71 percent possess a mental health plan; and 59 percent report having dedicated mental health legislation. Median mental health expenditures per capita are US$ 1.63, with large variation among income groups, ranging from US$ 0.20 in low income countries to US$ 44.84 in high income countries. Globally, 67 percent of financial resources are directed towards mental hospitals. The global median number of facilities per 100,000 population were; 0.61 outpatient facilities, 0.05 day treatment facilities, 0.01 community residential facilities, and 0.04 mental hospitals. There are 7.04 psychiatric beds per 100,000 population in mental hospitals in comparison to 1.4 psychiatric beds per 100,000 population in general hospitals. Higher income countries typically report more facilities and higher admission/utilization rates. Three quarters of patients admitted to mental hospitals remain there less than one year. There is a clear pattern whereby greater rates of human resources are observed in higher income countries. Globally, nurses represented the most prevalent professional group working in the mental health sector. User and family associations are present in about two thirds of the countries, with greater representation in higher income countries. Results from Mental Health Atlas 2011 reinforce the urgent need to scale up resources within countries to meet the high and growing burden of mental disorders.

References

  1. 1.

    World Health Organization. The global burden of disease—2004 update. WHO: Geneva; 2008.

  2. 2.

    Saxena S, Thornicroft G, Knapp M, Whiteford H. Resources for mental health: scarcity, inequity, and inefficiency. Lancet. 2007;370:878–89.

  3. 3.

    World Health Organization. The world health report 2001 — mental health: new understanding, new hope. WHO: Geneva; 2001.

  4. 4.

    Saraceno B. Mental health: scarce resources need new paradigms. World Psychiatry. 2004;3:3–5.

  5. 5.

    World Health Organization. Atlas: mental health resources in the world 2001. WHO: Geneva; 2001.

  6. 6.

    World Health Organization. Atlas: mental health atlas 2005. WHO: Geneva; 2005.

  7. 7.

    World Health Organization. Atlas: mental health atlas 2011. WHO: Geneva; 2011.

  8. 8.

    World Health Organization. Everybody’s business: strengthening health systems to improve health outcomes. WHO: Geneva; 2007.

  9. 9.

    World Health Organization. Mental health policy and service guidance package: monitoring and evaluation of mental health policies and plans. WHO: Geneva; 2005.

  10. 10.

    World Health Organization. WHO Mental Health Gap Action Programme (mhGAP). WHO: Geneva. Available from URL: http://www.who.int/mental_health/mhgap/en/index.html (Accessed 8 September, 2011).

  11. 11.

    World Health Organization/Wonca Joint Report. Integrating mental health in primary care — a global perspective. WHO: Geneva; 2007.

  12. 12.

    Saraceno B, van Ommeren M, Batniji R, Cohen A, Gureje O, Mahoney J, et al. Barriers to improvement of mental health services in low-income and middle-income countries. Lancet. 2007;370:1164–74.

  13. 13.

    Scheffler RM, Saxena S, Bruckner T, Yoon J, Shen G, Chisolm D, et al. Human resources for mental health: workforce shortages in lower and middle income countries. WHO: Geneva; 2011.

  14. 14.

    Bruckner TA, Scheffler RM, Shen G, Yoon J, Chisholm D, Morris J, et al. The mental health workforce gap in low- and middle-income countries: a needs-based approach. Bull World Health Organ. 2011;89:184–94

  15. 15.

    World Health Organization. Atlas: nurses in mental health 2007. WHO: Geneva; 2007.

  16. 16.

    World Health Organization. World Health Organization Assessment Instrument for Mental Health Systems (WHO-AIMS). WHO: Geneva; 2005. Available from URL: http://www.who.int/mental_health/evidence/WHO-AIMS/en/index.html (Accessed 26 June, 2012).

  17. 17.

    Saxena S, Lora A, van Ommeren M, Barrett T, Morris J, Saraceno B. WHO’s Assessment Instrument for Mental Health Systems: collecting essential information for policy and service delivery, Psychiatr Serv. 2007;58:816–21.

  18. 18.

    Saraceno B, Freeman M, Funk M. Public mental health. In: Oxford Textbook of Public Health — 5th edition. Oxford University Press: Oxford; 2009.

Download references

Author information

Correspondence to Jodi Morris PhD.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Morris, J., Lora, A., McBain, R. et al. Global Mental Health Resources and Services: A WHO Survey of 184 Countries. Public Health Rev 34, 3 (2012) doi:10.1007/BF03391671

Download citation

Keywords

  • Mental health systems
  • mental health services
  • human resources
  • policy
  • plans and legislation
  • information systems
  • WHO