[Solved] Global Health Discussion

Global Health: Mental Health

Background Information and Statistics


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One of the growing global health concerns is the increasing rates of mental health. The world has varied perspectives of mental health, and research into this area seeks to improve the outcomes of persons suffering from various mental health issues around the world. According to Whiteford et al. (2015), the field takes into account the various cultural practices and conditions that are specific to a country, the treatment options, political and financial considerations, education regarding mental health as well as the structures of mental health care among other issues to develop strategies to mitigate the effects of the disorders. Patel et al. (2015) argue that the field seeks to support mental health in the globe by providing mental health information from all countries and identifying the needs of the health care in order to develop evidence-based interventions to mitigate the various needs of the disorders (Patel et al., 2016).

Recent studies have indicated that mental health is one of the main causes of the global burden of disease. Estimates provided by Patel et al., (2016) indicate that about 10% of the world population suffers from one or more of the many forms of mental illnesses meaning that close to 600 million people throughout the world are affected by mental health issues (Patel et al., 2016).  The statistics also indicate that the conditions are responsible for 10% of the world’s burden of disease and 30% of the burden related to non-fatal illnesses (Patel et al., 2016). The effects of mental illness are becoming far-reaching in our society. A large percentage of people who commit suicide have been found to suffer from mental illnesses (Worden, 2018). Worden further establishes that suicide is the second leading cause of death amongst the youthful generation yearly. The WHO estimates that that approximately 800,000 individuals commit suicide each year due to mental-related illnesses (Worden, 2018). The 2010 Global Burden of Disease established that chronic depression was the leading cause of disability as well as being the main contributor to suicide and heart diseases. It has also been determined that almost 90% of patients diagnosed with anxiety and depression receive their treatment at primary health care. It is also evident that many more people are not diagnosed and consequently, do not look for treatment (Walker, McGee & Druss, 2015).

Factors That Impact Mental Health

While the burden affects many people in the world, some countries are disadvantaged owing to the various reasons that include political, financial, culture and traditions (Ngui, Khasakhala, Ndetei & Roberts, 2010). In some low-income countries, the ratio of health workers to the citizen population is quite low. Many countries lack mental health policies and programs with many lacking effective legislation for mental health. Some countries assign fewer funds on their overall health budgets to mental health, high poverty rates in some countries have led to greater burdens of mental illness (Ngui et al., 2010). While the ratio can be one per 100,000 persons in the developing nations, the number gets to more than 500 in higher income nations (Patel et al., 2016). Besides, the budgetary allocation for mental health is an issue of concern. Apart from spending, culture, and tradition affect the seeking of treatment among some communities (Walker et al., 2015). In some African countries, some forms of mental health issues are considered as witchcraft and curses and are not treated by conventional evidence-based medicine.

The reports from WHO has indicated that countries most affected by burden are not among the poorest in the world. Estonia, Russia, and Belarus have the highest mental health-adjusted life years (DALYs) for every 100,000 people (Whiteford et al., 2013). Some of the developed countries such as China and the US are among the countries most affected by schizophrenia, anxiety, and bipolar disorders. Indeed, the countries losing the least years are considered low-income ones like Guinea Bissau and Burkina Faso. However, this does not indicate that the conditions of mental health are better in those developing countries. It may just be that the figures have a less visible effect due to the higher poverty and a generally dilapidated health provision and conflict.

The Influence of Altruistic Organizations on Health and Health Care Practices Associated with Mental Health

Altruistic and voluntary organizations, together with religion and spirituality, have had a huge impact on mental health (Daynes, 2016).  Apart from being at the forefront of providing education and doing voluntary work, some organizations have been known to influence the change of culture and social perceptions of mental illnesses. Most of the first hospitals in the Western countries, and indeed in the entire globe, were built by religious organizations (Walker et al., 2015). Some religious leaders are also trained as physicians and nurses and hence are at the forefront in providing the necessary support. The organizations focus on ensuring that children have access to best treatments, improving diagnosis, and also offering helpful information which can be used to guide and empower communities. They help in advocating for policies to help guarantee access to effective health services (Daynes, 2016).

The Interventions Implemented to Address the Health Care Issues Associated with Mental Health

Among the most challenges to the successful interventions being made to address the issue of mental health has been the low budgetary allocation to the field. In most Sub-Saharan African countries, there is as little as 1% of the budget allocated to mental health, if there is any in the first place. However, in the last few decades, with the WHO campaigning for more government involvement to provide for mental health care to the patients, some countries are taking the initiative to improve the infrastructure to address the burden (Whiteford et al., 2013).

In developed countries, mental health policies are now quite established and are carefully being integrated into health, educational, and social policies. Further, it is now mandatory in Western countries to integrate mental health needs into the national budget and the essential package of interventions in health. This practice is being advocated and spread to the low-income countries in Africa, albeit through donations in funding from Western NGOs and for-profit organizations. More people are now accessing mental health because of its inclusion of the insurance cover. With the help of altruistic organizations, more people are accessing both conventional and alternative medicine to mitigate the burden.

How Health Care Decisions and Practices at a Local Level Relate to Health and Health Care Delivery on a Global Scale

In the United States, an approach of integrating the patient and provider in the decision-making process is an essential component treatment for mental health. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) considers this area significant in enhancing mental health and primary care. Legislation and advocacy have led to the patients having a critical role in deciding together with the care provider on the treatment decision. Most patients decide on their own type of treatment they will receive and this right is being acknowledged in other parts of the world where people with mental health issues were not considered as having the ability to make a decision on treatment plans (Whiteford et al., 2013). The decisions of a patient do impact the behaviors like initiating treatment and continuance, adherence to prescriptions and health care action plans, which subsequently affects the individual and overall health outcomes. Besides decision making, the local health practice relating to mental health is the adherence to strict privacy rules as provided by the HIPAA Act. This act gives various parties the responsibilities of ensuring the privacy of patients and the conditions under which the medical record of a patient can be shared with a third party (Whiteford et al., 2015). Such practices can only help to ensure that stigma and prejudice that is often associated with mental illness does not find a place in the community.

Evidence-Based Interventions to Promote Wellness and Disease Prevention Associated with Mental Health

According to Hom, Stanley and Joiner Jr (2015), treatment of mental disorders can be accomplished with the use of both pharmacological and psychosocial interventions. The WHO focuses on the providing treatments at primary health care, educating the public, making drugs available, involving the communities and consumers during campaigns are some of the interventions that could help address the burden (Hom, Stanley & Joiner Jr, 2015). Promotion of mental health considers the burden to be a fundamental human right that is critical to economic and social development. Some of the strategies that include linking the mental health to other sectors like education, social and administrative justice and criminal justice systems can go a long way in the prevention and promotion of health (Townsend, 2014). Besides, the development of national policies, strategies, and laws regarding concerning mental health will provide a guideline to enable the execution of evidence-based interventions.

Research also shows that among the significant challenges facing mental health is inadequate human resources. With proper investments into training and employing more people into the field, more patients will be reached and better prevention programs implemented (Townsend, 2014). Monitoring mental health from a community perspective will help in mitigating the effects of the disorders. Finally, more funding should go into research to obtain data that should guide the implementation of practices to ensure better health outcomes (Patel et al., 2016).


Mental health is a growing field of public health concern with the numbers of people affected globally rising each year. It is estimated that more than 600 million people are suffering from any of the mental health disorders. Even with this information, some countries do not have legislation and strategies as well as funding to address this global challenge. Some developing countries have a limited allocation of national resources to address mental health. While the governments have not done enough to address the issues of mental health, altruistic organizations have been at the forefront in helping communities and patients to deal with the burden. These organizations have done this through campaigns, the building of mental health hospitals and other activities. From evidence-based finding, most of the mental disorders can be treated and others managed. It is essential that such practices are implemented at the primary care level to aid in promoting, preventing, and managing the effects of mental health.


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