Getting treatment for any mental health issue is not as easy as booking an appointment with your general practitioner or therapist. Mental health is as much of an illness as any, yet it’s not accorded the same sense of urgency as any other physical illness out there.
Moreover the resources to manage and treat mental illness are scarce or simply not there in some areas. This inadequacy in mental health care is easily illustrated by some startling mental health statistics including;
· Over 450 million people across the globe suffer from some form of mental illness according to W.H.O.
· Again, W.H.O states that by the year 2030, depression will be the second highest cause of disease burden within the middle income countries and the third highest in low income countries?
· Schizophrenia, depression, epilepsy, dementia, alcohol dependence and other mental, neurological and substance-use disorders account for about 13% of the global disease burden. This surpasses both cancer and heart disease according to a report by National Institute of Health.
With these statistics it is clear that mental health sector is undergoing huge under-investment in countries across the globe.
A crucial question to ask then is how to support the millions of people that continue to suffer from mental health issues, when resources are not allocated or are simply scarce. According to Safergaming.com, government departments and Health Ministers need to understand that the mental condition that drives a person to drugs is very similar to the one that creates compulsions for sports betting or casino games. For this reason, government has a role to play in mental health advocacy.
Here are 3 low-cost strategies that the government can adopt and promote in order to bridge the treatment gap and help boost the mental health of millions of people.
A novel approach that the government can adopt in treating mental health is training whoever is available, be it a family member, a local nurse or government official to detect mental health problems and deliver the appropriate interventions such that no psychiatrist is required.
This approach should aim at empowering the everyday person to treat their own family members, co-worker, husband, wife etc. Not only does this help people to care for other people, but it empowers them to be guardians of their own health as well. This approach has been employed in several developing countries and yielded great results.
2. Screening Programmes
Certain people are at increased risk for developing mental illness such as infection during pregnancy or those from families with a history of mental illness. Screening these people for any mental disabilities can help manage and treat mental disease early. The government can invest in programs and trained professionals and direct them in at risk groups for effective screening and treatment.
In today’s tech savvy world, most mentally ill candidates are often pushed to the limit with the use of the internet namely social media networks. The government can help set up cyber bullying hotline unlike the 911 to help curb internet attacks.
Using some of these three strategies, the government can support mental health advocacy and help many people who are suffering from the disease!