Mental health disorders are on the rise in every country in the world and could cost the global economy up to $16 trillion between 2010 and 2030 if a collective failure to respond is not addressed, according to the “Lancet Commission” report by 28 global specialists in psychiatry, public health and neuroscience, as well as mental health patients and advocacy groups, said the growing crisis could cause lasting harm to people, communities and economies worldwide.
While some of the costs will be the direct costs of healthcare and medicines or other therapies, most are indirect – in the form of loss of productivity, and spending on social welfare, education and law and order, the report’s co-lead author Vikram Patel said. The wide-ranging report did not give the breakdown of the potential $16 trillion economic impact it estimated by 2030.
“The situation is extremely bleak,” Patel, a professor at Harvard Medical School in the United States, told reporters.
He said the burden of mental illness had risen “dramatically” worldwide in the past 25 years, partly due to societies ageing and more children surviving into adolescence, yet “no country is investing enough” to tackle the problem.
“No other health condition in humankind has been neglected as much as mental health has,” Patel said.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that around 300 million people worldwide have depression and 50 million have dementia. Schizophrenia is estimated to affect 23 million people, and bipolar disorder around 60 million.
The Lancet report found that in many countries, people with common mental disorders such as depression, anxiety and schizophrenia routinely suffer gross human rights violations – including shackling, torture and imprisonment.
Richard Horton, editor-in-chief of the medical journal the Lancet, which commissioned the report, said it highlighted the “shameful and shocking treatment of people with mental ill health around the world”.
It called for a human rights-based approach to ensure that people with mental health conditions are not denied fundamental human rights, including access to employment, education and other core life experiences.
It also recommended a wholesale shift to community-based care for mental health patients, with psychosocial treatments such as talking therapies being offered not just by medical professionals but also by community health workers, peers, teachers and the clergy.
The report was published ahead of a first global ministerial mental health summit in London this week.
In other mental illness news, an Australian man who identifies as a transgender woman defended himself in court on Thursday, claiming that he was either possessed by a demon or his mind was addled by drugs and therefore it was his body, not him, who attacked people at a 7-Eleven with an ax last year.
Evie Amati, the 26-year-old transgender suspect, does not deny being bodily present at the time, but claims his* mind was somewhere else. Amati attacked two people with an ax at a 7-Eleven on January 7, 2017.
The transgender suspect then reportedly swung the ax twice at a man outside who managed to avoid the blows. Amati has pleaded not guilty to six charges, including two counts of wounding with intent to murder.
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In court, Amati’s lawyer Charles Waterstreet asked, “At that stage, had you any idea of the damage that you’d done to persons by your body’s actions?” To this, the defendant responded, “No.”
The court had previously heard that the mentally ill transgender Amati could not remember the incident. On Thursday, the transgender suspect developed the drug and demon possession defense, the Sydney Morning Herald reported. Amati said he heard whispered voices after leaving a failed first date and wanted to sleep, but the voices became louder.
“They stopped being whispers. They started being actual words,” the suspect said. “I started seeing some of the violent visions I’d seen previously of me running at police with the axe and being shot dead.”
He recalled rocking back and forth, crying and listening to his favorite song, wanting the experiment to end.
His last memory before waking up in the hospital the day after the attack was sitting on the balcony, hearing a voice “that had been telling me to kill and maim and inflict pain on people and start the rise of hell on earth.”
“I recall everything going quiet and feeling that voice come inside me,” the suspect said. Then it gets really creepy.
Amati said he experienced his face smiling without being in control of the action. “I remember that smile, the smile that was not mine,” he recalled. “A sinister smile that plastered my face that I couldn’t control. And I black out.”
After the attack, he awoke in St. Vincent’s Hospital shackled to a bed with police nearby and realized “something very, very bad had happened.” Police told him he had been arrested and taken to the hospital after being found unconscious near the 7-Eleven.
Continue reading this explosive report here.
James E Windsor, Overpasses News Desk
October 10th, 2018