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Health Agencies Update
October 24/31, 2007

Mental Health Care Lacking

JAMA. 2007;298(16):1858. doi:10.1001/jama.298.16.1858-a

Mental disorders are among the most common and disabling illnesses worldwide, resulting in 37% of all healthy life-years lost through disease, according to the World Bank. Yet few individuals in either the developed or developing world are receiving mental health care, according to recently released data from the World Health Organization's World Mental Health Survey Initiative.

A face-to-face survey of 84 848 adults from 17 countries across the economic spectrum found that few individuals received care for mental illness (Wang PS et al. Lancet. 2007;370[9590]:841-850). The number of individuals receiving any mental health services in the previous 12 months ranged from 2% (in Nigeria) to 18% (in the United States). Generally, individuals in the wealthiest countries and in countries that spent the most on health care were most likely to receive care.

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