WHO Mental Health Report 2022

WHO recently published a World Mental Health Report that is designed to focus attention on the issues facing people with mental health problems. Without being prescriptive, it provides a compelling and fresh picture of why change is needed worldwide.

WHO is also embarking on a major transformation to be fit-for-purpose in the era of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This edition of the Mental Health Atlas assumes a new significance, as it is released while WHO is undergoing an important change.

1. Defining mental health

Mental health is an essential part of a person’s capacity to think, emote, interact with others, earn a living and enjoy life. It is influenced by many factors at both individual and social levels, such as poverty and deprivation; debt and unemployment; and exposure to violence and conflict.

Mental health can be improved by supporting people-centered, recovery-oriented and human-rights based care. These approaches can improve trust and access to services, enhance health literacy and decision-making skills, and support independence.

Despite increased global attention to mental health in recent years, there is still a shortfall in global investment in mental health resources and systems. This is why WHO’s new World Mental Health Report 2022 focuses on the transformative process that is required to ensure better mental health for all.

2. Suicide

Every 40 seconds, someone in the world dies by suicide. This means that over 800000 people commit suicide each year and for every one death, 20 attempts are made.

Suicide is a preventable disease. It is caused by a range of problems, including mental health conditions and other medical disorders.

Getting help from a friend, family member, mental health professional or support group is the first step to preventing suicide. The sooner you get the support you need, the faster you can overcome your difficulties and start to live a more fulfilling life.

The WHO recently launched its first global report on suicide prevention. It aims to raise awareness of the issue and urge governments to develop comprehensive suicide prevention strategies. The report outlines the key ways to reduce suicide rates worldwide.

3. Prevention

Prevention is the strategy that aims to reduce the risk of people developing or suffering from disease, disorder or social problems. It can be done either at the individual or population level.

While research on mental health has mainly focused on treatment of already existing disorders, this is now changing and is increasingly attracting new investment in the area of prevention.

There are two main types of preventive strategies: primary prevention which aims to prevent a condition from developing; and secondary and tertiary prevention which seeks to reduce complications, disability or chronicity after an illness has developed. There is also a wide range of other approaches that can be used to promote good mental health and reduce the chances of getting a mental illness.

4. Treatment

Mental health is an important part of any comprehensive healthcare system. It should be treated with a prevention-minded approach.

To achieve this, treatment is the first step to recovery and should always be integrated into the overall healthcare package. Treatments can be provided in a variety of ways, depending on the type of mental disorder and its severity.

WHO has established a global system to monitor and assess the progress of the Comprehensive Mental Health Action Plan, adopted in 2013. It includes an Atlas that provides data on policies, legislation, financing, human resources, availability and utilization of services as well as data collection systems.

5. Recovery

Recovery is a process that aims to build a more satisfying life for people with mental illness. It is about looking beyond the boundaries that mental illness and stigma often impose on people with a mental health problem, recognising their abilities, interests and dreams and supporting them to achieve them.

There are many theories and conceptualisations of recovery, each with its own meaning and emphasis. The CHIME framework identified five key elements: hope, resilience, identity, meaning in life and empowerment.