Global Health Must Include Mental Health | craig And Marc Kielburger

“We have the capacity and knowledge to identify and treat these disorders very effectively in primary care.” Community health workers and traditional healers are given specific training on diagnosis and treatment, while the small percentage of severe cases are referred continue reading this to the few trained psychiatrists. First, however, one must break through the thick wall of stigma around mental illness. “I call it mental health by stealth,” says Dr. Kutcher. Instead of labeling workshops and peer education programs as “mental health” initiatives, projects like his Farm Radio International program in Malawi talk about the brain like any other organ that needs to be healthy. “What’s good for your bicep is good for your brain,” goes the refrain, “and brain disease is no different than pancreatic disease.” These anti-stigma campaigns promote mental-health literacy by focusing on child development as an educational and economic goal, which gets students, parents and community leaders more readily on board. Together, these interventions bolster mental health in communities, identify cases requiring primary treatment, and free up the few professional psychiatrists and precious high-level resources to care for severe disorders resulting from traumatic events like war and disaster. Stronger mental health leads to economic returns from enhanced human capital, increased productivity and lower net health costs. And they empower people everywhere along their journey toward a healthier and happier life. The next challenge is scaling up these mental health programs to reach all the communities and countries that would benefit. The World Health Organization estimates the cost at between only US$2 and US$4 per capita per year — but that’s billions of dollars that are hard to come by among competing development priorities that are more visible and “marketable,” like fighting malaria or building schools.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/craig-and-marc-kielburger/global-health-mental-health_b_5382003.html

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