Mental health is one of the most underserved fields of health in the world.

This was valid before the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, but the pandemic has escalated the mental health crisis.

Mental wellbeing has been overlooked for a number of reasons. The first is a negative stigma.

The second is that mental health conditions are seen as a “luxury good” rather than true illnesses.

A fragmented and obsolete service model is among the other top factors.

Providing mental health care mostly in psychiatric institutions, a significant lack of preventative mental health services, lagging policy reform, and a shortage of human capital are only a few of them.

The statistics are astounding.

Nearly 1 billion people worldwide suffer from a mental illness, with more than 75% of those in low-income countries not seeking care.

Nearly 3 million people die each year as a result of drug abuse.

Every 40 seconds, someone commits suicide.

By the age of 14, almost half of all mental health problems begin.

About 160 million people are expected to need humanitarian aid as a result of wars, natural disasters, and other emergencies.

During such times, the prevalence of mental illnesses will double. One of every five individuals affected by conflict is believed to be suffering from a mental disorder.

The COVID-19 pandemic has interrupted or, in some cases, completely stopped vital mental health programmes in 93 percent of countries worldwide. The demand for mental health services continues to increase rapidly.

Investing in mental health is a sound economic choice. As we grow into 2021, we’d like to focus on a few main takeaways.

The global vulnerability of health systems was revealed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Primary health care must be solid in order for health systems to be sustainable.

Primary healthcare programmes can only be deemed effective if they resolve both physical and mental aspects of wellbeing.

As a result, rather than being delivered in silo, mental health services must be integrated into health systems. They must be incorporated into basic health-care insurance packages as well.

Mental health investment necessitates a multi-sectoral and coordinated approach. It requires a “whole of society approach,” which includes primary care programmes, public health, social security, employment, and education, as well as community-based participation.

Governments must set aside funds from development assistance and domestic health budgets to implement community-based mental-health services and improve overall mental-health care.

Prioritizing the psychosocial needs of disadvantaged populations, such as displaced people, is vital to a country’s health and human capital investments.

Collaboration and transparency through many levels of government are necessary for long-term mental health services.

It is critical for all leaders to speak out on this issue. Political, financial, and cross-sectoral funding for mental health should be given.

We are facing a mental health epidemic. We have been for years. And the lockdown measures taken have only exacerbated this.

The data shows the negative effects that would befall the planet if mental wellbeing takes a back seat.

We’re left with a straightforward conclusion: without mental health, there is no health at all.