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PLOS BLOGS Speaking of Medicine and Health

No Health Without Mental Health

Mental health exerts a substantial burden of suffering and disability that is often underappreciated. The stigma of mental illness and legacy of discrimination against those who suffer are two reasons why mental health lives at the margins of global health. In addition, many assume mental health issues—depression, anxiety, psychosis, addiction, among others—happen mostly to people in the developed world. But in fact mental health disorders are prevalent in all regions of the world, in every community, and across every income level. The reality is stark: 75% of all those suffering from mental disorders live in low income countries.

Worse, those most at need also have the least access to evidence-based care, an intolerable treatment gap that worsens global health inequities.

Today, on Global Mental Health Day, we can all reflect on how mental health contributes to our health overall and to the ways in which mental health issues have impacted our own lives and those of people we love. And we can commit to doing everything we can to address this global challenge.

As many other organizations and campaigns today have made clear, we need more understanding and knowledge about mental health issues and how best to address them.

PLOS Medicine has made global mental health a priority, and we are always interested in seeing original research that tests and implements interventions to care for people with mental health disorders, especially in low- and middle-income countries.

In our Magazine we have published an outstanding series outlining “packages of care” and have an open call for papers for our Global Mental Health Practice series that aims to highlight interventions to improve access to care and promote the human rights.

We continue to invite high-quality research and commentary on the topic.



  1. “The reality is stark: 75% of all those suffering from mental disorders live in low income countries.” Is this announcement helpful? What percentage of PEOPLE live in low income countries. Should we be turning resources toward whichever countries these are? Encouraging education of mental health providers in these countries? This impassioned revelation amounts to a jolt of caffeine triggering inquiry into the author’s epiphany, and What Would She Have Us Do?

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