The Silent Epidemic

Aljzeera discusses at length in “the stream” the “world’s silent epidemic” echoing the British Government’s “there is “no health without mental health”. There is. in my view, a false dichotomy in dividing the world into “first” and “third” components when the characteristics of inner cities and rural communities within the first share the same effects of poverty with the third world. We are talking about a truly global problem, but some of the solutions envisaged for the “third world” are equally applicable to the rest. The World Health Organisation describes depression as the most debilitating illness. In all parts of the globe only a minority of those in need get help with the “third world” sections within the “first” again resembling the other.
“Although treatment is available for some, many suffering with mental illness in certain low-income countries lack access to healthcare or do not seek help because of the stigma associated with it. In fact, a multi-country survey in 2008 revealed 35 to 50 per cent of people suffering mental health problems in developed countries and 76 to 85 per cent of those in developing countries did not receive any treatment in the previous year. To tackle this crisis, some mental health experts are promoting task-shifting–or task-sharing–where local people in the community can provide the same emergency health services as medical doctors.” Source Aljazeera “The World’s Silent Epidemic”
In the Birmingham in the UK the Sikh Community and Youth Service carried out a project visiting around 40 organisations in the voluntary (or “third” sector – yes it says it all) which were set up for “unmet need” and covered diverse communities settling in the West Midlands region of the United Kingdom. The Project “Talk to Us” produced a website in 2007 intended as a toolkit to help the kind of organisations visited build capacity for dealing with mental health issues.

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