Mental Health for Sustainable Development
The simple message of this report is that progress in development will not be made without improvements in mental health. The reasons are equally straightforward. Mental illnesses cause more disability than any other health condition; bring enormous pain and suffering to individuals and their families and communities; and can lead to early death, human rights abuses and damage to the economy. Improving mental health is therefore a vital part of a successful development programme. Yet mental health is generally given a very low priority – and often neglected altogether - in both national and international policy. The UK government can give a powerful lead to correct this through DFID and its work with other international bodies; however, it also needs to develop its own policies and practices to give mental health greater priority and, crucially, parity with physical health. Mental health needs to move from being an afterthought to an essential part of social policy, health system strengthening and health improvement.