The World Health Organization (WHO) defines mental health as a ‘state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.’ Global mental health is the study and practice of improving mental health and achieving equity in mental health for all people worldwide. According to the WHO, over 25% of people worldwide develop a mental disorder during their lifetime. Addressing international health concerns requires understanding the different cultural and regional attitudes towards mental health and accounting for the epidemiology of mental disorders of mental disorders in different countries, their treatment options, mental health education, political and financial aspects, the structure of mental health care systems, human resources in mental health, and human rights issues.

In order to increase services for mental, neurological and substance use disorders for countries, the WHO has created the Mental Health Gap Action Programme (mhGAP). The priority conditions addressed by mhGAP are: depression, schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders, suicide, epilepsy, dementia, disorders due to use of alcohol, disorders due to use of illicit drugs, and mental disorders in children. The mhGAP package consists of interventions for prevention and management for each of these priority conditions.


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