The global mental health care crisis grows. According to one study, over 400 million people across the world suffer from mental disorders. Only 25% of them are referred to health services and only 10% of them receive adequate treatment. 10-20 million attend and 1 million people complete suicide every year. As Marginal Revolution pointed out recently, a new study shows that India has some of the highest suicide rates in the world.
The global suicide rate stands at 14.5 deaths per 100,000, with suicide the fourth leading cause of death in the 15 to 19 age group. This compares to just 2.1 suicides per 100,000 in the same group in the UK. The average suicide rate for young women aged between 15 to 19 living around Vellore in Tamil Nadu was 148 per 100,000. Compare this to older numbers in China, and you might agree that the number of people affected by mental disorders is indeed much higher.
While research on the neurobiology of suicide continues, it is clear that mental disorders, like suicide, have multiple impacts of social, biological, and psychological determinants.
In the developing world, mental disorders are compounded by living in extreme poverty, such as slum-dwellers; children and adolescents experiencing disrupted nurturing, abused women, abandoned elderly people, others traumatized by violence, such as the victims of armed conflicts, migrants, including refugees, and many indigenous persons.
All indications show that the future will bring a dramatic increase in mental health problem. It is a crises of the 21st century. As the first report suggests, "order to avoid this rapidly growing problem, we should work altogether to increase the awareness of the community and to educate it about mental health, reorganize mental health services, create community mental health services and outreach programs, train of primary care providers, train psychiatrists, and provide psycho-social rehabilitation."