Mental, neurological and substance use disorders represent a big burden of disease worldwide. Approximately 450 million people around the world suffer from mental health problems. Every 40 seconds a person commits suicide resulting in 800 000 deaths every year. Nevertheless, all countries spend far too little on research, education, care and the prevention of mental illness. International projects in the fields of research and care therefore play a particularly important role. DGPPN wants to facilitate networking among German cooperation partners in order to improve mental health care worldwide.
The WHO demands: "All people with mental disorders have the right to receive high-quality treatment and assistance through appropriate health care. They should be protected from all forms of inhuman treatment and discrimination”.
However, there is a significant gap between the need for treatment and adequate care worldwide. In low- and middle-income countries, between 76% and 85% of people with mental disorders do not receive treatment of their disease. Annual expenditure on mental health is less than US$ 2 per person on average. In countries with low per capita income, it is even less than US$ 0.25 per person per year. By contrast, the German health system spends around 500 Euros per person on mental health every year.
Particularly in countries with low and medium per capita income, the number of medical staff available for mental health care is insufficient. Almost half of the world's population lives in countries with only one psychiatrist providing care to at least 200,000 or more people. Other professionals trained in dealing with psychosocial interventions are even scarcer. In Germany on the other hand there are about 54 specialists for mental illnesses for 200,000 people.
To improve global mental health care, the Health Ministers of 194 WHO member states adopted the Mental Health Action Plan 2013-2020, calling for the global expansion of programmes to prevent, detect and treat mental, neurological and substance use disorders. In this context, the so-called Mental Health Atlas serves to monitor the status quo of mental health care worldwide on a regular basis. The WHO Mental Health Gap Action Programme (mhGAP) offers the member states concrete recommendations for action to reduce the treatment gaps for mental illnesses.
The current WHO Special Initiative for Mental Health (2019-2023) aims to provide access to mental health care for 100 million people in 12 countries by 2023.
Networking and support
In order to improve mental health care worldwide and especially in less well-equipped healthcare systems, many doctors, scientists and institutions in Germany are also involved in international projects - but often do not know of each other. By providing a platform DGPPN wants to facilitate networking among German projects and thus improve exchange on international mental health research and care.
Register your international initiative
Are you involved in an international project in the fields of care, research and teaching in psychiatry and psychotherapy? Then enter the information in our form and announce your project.