Investments and quality of care“mental health must be increased”emergency“. This is the alert launched by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in a report released on June 8. This need is all the stronger since the covid crisis which has led to an increase in mental health problems.

“Neglected and underfunded” services

The report first emits a worrying observation: “psychiatric services have long been neglected and underfunded, and unmet care needs remain high in OECD countries“, note the authors of the report.

This is why today, “countries must provide adequate support to those affected while urgently increasing investment and quality of care to reduce the high social and economic costs associated with mental health problems“, continues the OECD.

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One in five people affected

But the needs are great: it was estimated before the health crisis that one in two people had already suffered from mental disorders during their life, and that one in five was affected at any time.

And these numbers could now be higher, because “the covid-19 pandemic has led to a sharp increase in mental health problems, especially among young people, the unemployed and those in financial difficulty“, deplores the organization.

Reduce costs through prevention

According to the report, the economic costs associated with mental disorders represent more than 4.2% of the GDP of OECD countries. While some are a direct result of salaries, more than a third of them are linked to lower employment rates and lost productivity. “However, these costs can be avoided, at least in part“, assure the authors. How?

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First, by improving prevention and care. Indeed, according to the OECD, 67% of people wishing to benefit from mental health care said they had difficulty obtaining it. “11 OECD countries (out of 38, editor’s note) have only one psychologist or less per 10,000 inhabitants“, note the authors of the report.

And second, by allowing better access to education and employment. Because suffering from a mental disorder still rhymes with a lower level of education and employment.