At the World Bank Group (WBG)-International Monetary Fund Annual Meetings earlier this month in Bali, Indonesia, WBG President Dr. Jim Kim posed a critical question: “What will it take to promote economic growth and help lift people out of poverty everywhere in the world…How will they reach their ambitions in an increasingly complex world?”
Fragility, conflict and violence (FCV) have become some of the most pressing threats to economic development. Over 2 billion people live in FCV countries, and it is expected that by 2030 nearly 50 to 60 percent of the world’s poorest people will live in areas affected by conflict. This can pose major socioeconomic challenges, including a reduction of gross domestic product growth by 2 percentage points per year and driving youth to join rebellions due to conflict-driven unemployment.
Many of us have vivid memories of the joy and excitement of young adulthood, but this can also be a time of stress, apprehension and fear of the unknown. For many young people, this unease can lead to acute anxiety, severe depression or substance use disorders, if not recognized and managed.
Young people living in environments where they face death and suffering daily, such as in West Africa during the Ebola epidemic of 2014-2015, in post-tsunami or earthquake-affected areas, or in countries experiencing extended conflict and violence, are particularly vulnerable to mental distress and illness.
This year’s World Mental Health Day, on Oct. 10, recognizes this critical time in life with the theme “Young People and Mental Health in a Changing World.” Many changes occur during adolescence and the early years of adulthood, but they are not always acknowledged or treated.
I was deeply touched by statements and testimonies from people from all walks of life, but what impressed me the most was the discussion about the “veil of oblivion” surrounding the dire conditions of mentally ill people in jails and prisons.
Accumulated scientific evidence shows that proper nutrition and stimulation in utero and during early childhood benefit physical and mental well-being later in life and contribute to the development of children’s cognitive and socioemotional skills. Yet, a critical but often overlooked fact in policy design and program development across the world is the association between maternal depression and childhood stunting -- the impaired growth and development measured by low height-for-age.
This is a guest post by Joachim De Weerdt, Kathleen Beegle and Stefan Dercon.
Last Sunday many (but not all) countries around the world celebrated father’s day, but what does the development literature say about the role of fathers?
April 7 marked the 70th anniversary of World Health Day. This was an opportunity for the global community to redouble its efforts to ensure that all people can improve their health, including their mental health.
When his father died, Gopi, a carpenter in rural Tamil Nadu, India was overwhelmed by an enormous mental and financial burden.
Gopi became depressed, left his job, and isolated himself.
As his condition worsened, Gopi’s two younger sisters dropped out from high school to take on farming jobs to support the family.
However, thanks to medicine, counseling, and livelihood support from the Mental Health Program (TNMHP), Gopi eventually rehabilitated himself and got back to carpentry a year later.
With time, he even took out a Rs. 20,000 loan to start his own carpentry business.
Gopi’s experience—and many others’—illustrate how mental health is integral to well-being.
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Accordingly, the World Bank-supported the Mental Health Program in the state of Tamil Nadu, India that incorporates best practices in mental health from around the world.
The project is an important instrument in addressing the magnitude of India’s mental health challenges, and provides a successful model for the implementation of the national mental health policy and improve mental health infrastructure and care in Indian states.
By closely involving the community, the project reduced stigma and prejudice attached to mental illness and empowered vulnerable people with mental disabilities to gain respect in their communities.
People with mental disabilities are diagnosed and treated and provided livelihood support through vocational training, self-help groups, job cards, and identity cards to access social benefits.
Chronic depression affects about 20 percent of Nigerian heads of households, according to the most recent results of the Nigerian General Household Survey (GHS) Panel, which measures indicators from agriculture, welfare, and other areas of life in Nigeria once every two to three years. This statistic is linked to an additional finding that nearly 2 out of 5 Nigerian respondents have been affected by at least one negative event, such as conflict and/or the death of a household member.
This blog is part of a series using data from World Development Indicators to explore progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals and their associated targets. The new Atlas of Sustainable Development Goals 2017, published in April 2017, and the SDG Dashboard provide in-depth analyses of all 17 goals.
Goal 3 of the Sustainable Development Agenda for 2030 – Good Health and Well-being - explores a myriad of causes of ill-health and mortality, and hopes to improve the lives of many through its targets. Two recent blogs by the authors have focused on health during pregnancy and childbirth, and the prevention of some communicable and non-communicable diseases.
This blog turns its attention to other factors that impact people: mental health, alcohol and tobacco, and road traffic injuries and deaths.
Suicide rates are falling gradually in many parts of the world
Mental health is a focus of target 3.4, alongside other non-communicable diseases. Suicide accounts for 8.2 percent of deaths among young adults ages 15-29 globally and is the second leading cause of death after road traffic injuries for that age group.[i] Suicide rates for all ages tend to be higher in Europe and Central Asia and in high-income countries. In middle- and low-income countries, there has been a decline in rates since 2000.
The launching of the iPhones 8 and X and the advent of genomic-based precision medicine for disease treatment and prevention, are new reminders that technological innovation is fueling momentous change in our daily lives. Indeed, as Professor Klaus Schwab, the chairman of the World Economic Forum describes, the physical, digital and biological trends underpinning what he calls 'the fourth industrial revolution', are unleashing changes “unlike anything humankind has experienced before.”