Investing in mental health: focus of World Mental Health Day

World Mental Health Day (10 October 2011) focuses on investment. Good mental health contributes to economic prosperity, and improving a population’s mental health yields benefits in both human and economic terms. Poor mental health has enormous implications for society; mental disorders are estimated to affect at least 25% of the population of the WHO European Region every year, most commonly through depression and anxiety.

Data from countries where information is available show that mental disorders account for as much as 44% of social welfare benefits or disability pensions in Denmark, 43% in Finland and Scotland, and 37% in Romania. In the Republic of Moldova, mental disabilities account for 25% of all social welfare benefits or disability pensions funded by the Government.

Providing the care people want and need has both social and economic benefits: improved well-being and productivity. In consultation with European Member States, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and key partners, WHO Europe is developing a strategy that will guide the work for mental health in the European Region over the next decade.