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One out of five people in the world today experiences a mental disorder in any given year. Mental health issues can affect anyone, regardless of age, race and economic or social class, and most of us ...

One out of five people in the world today experiences a mental disorder in any given year. Mental health issues can affect anyone, regardless of age, race and economic or social class, and most of us will be affected at some point in our lives, indirectly or directly. In many parts of the Asia-Pacific region, appropriate care may not be available and access to mental health care may be limited.  Women, who play a predominant role in caregiving both for the elderly and children and often head single-parent families, seem to have a higher and more persistent prevalence of depression and anxiety.  It is a problem with consequence for the future: 50% of mental illnesses begin at an early age. Moreover, the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic has created an environment where many determinants of poor mental health are exacerbated. Mental health-related stigma and lack of inclusion of individuals with mental illness remain important areas of concern. This includes healthcare provider’s omission on mental illnesses as well as community awareness on mental health. Partly mental health care can be assessed by the supply of professionals and the availability of psychiatric beds in different settings. Another prerequisite for appropriate access to mental health care is the absorption of costs by public sector and healthcare providers. Clearly, mental health is a most relevant public health, economic and societal issue. 

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