MHPSS worldwide: facts and figures

What is the state of mental health and psychosocial services (MHPSS) worldwide?

Mental health in general

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that globally 1 out of every 4 people will be impacted by mental illness at some point in their lives.
  • 350 million people worldwide suffer from depression.
  • According to WHO, each year an estimated 700,000 people take their own lives – compared to 619,000 people killed by malaria.
  • Suicide is the fourth leading cause of death among 15 to 29-year-olds. Percentages are especially high among girls and young women.
  • Almost 9 out of 10 people with a mental condition experience stigma and discrimination, which negatively affects their lives.
  • In high-income countries, 5 out of 10 people who require psychological care cannot access the treatment they need. In low- and middle-income countries, this number rises to 9 out of 10 people.

Mental health during and after disasters and conflicts

  • According to WHO, 22% of people affected by disasters and conflicts require psychosocial support.
  • Worldwide, more than 110 million people are currently displaced as a result of violence and conflict – the highest number since the Second World War.
  • On average, people in crisis situations suffer from mental health conditions for much longer because of the ongoing stress and frequent lack of support.
  • Mental health conditions caused by crisis situations slow down reconstruction and economic recovery.

Economic costs of mental illness

  • Illness costs society a lot of money. For instance, illness can make people partially or completely unfit for work. These costs are called the economic burden of disease. According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), mental illness will account for more than half of the economic burden of disease over the next two decades – more than cancer, diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases combined.
  • According to the WEF, poor mental health cost the world economy an estimated $ 2.5 trillion in 2010, which is projected to increase to $ 6 trillion a year by 2030.
  • 54% of the economic burden of disease is borne by low- and middle-income countries.
  • Investing in MHPSS has economic benefits. The World Bank estimates that every dollar invested in mental healthcare yields between $ 3.30 and $ 5.70 in social and economic gains.

Find out more about MHPSS in crisis situations.