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Mental health

Paradigm Shift: Peru leading the way in reforming mental health services

Patricio V. Marquez's picture



We recently participated in an event held in Lima by Peru’s Ministry of Health and the Cayetano Heredia Peruvian University for the launching of a new report that assesses the initial results at the municipal level of the mental health services reform in the country.

Compelling evidence showing that the community-based initiatives to improve mental health care in Peru are helping close a major access gap that exists in most countries was shared.   

So, what are the main pillars of the Peruvian mental health reform process and its initial impact? 

Her burden to bear – women, aging, and depression

Seemeen Saadat's picture
An elderly woman sits outside a health clinic in rural Nepal. Photo © Aisha Faquir/World Bank

Tell me if this sounds familiar. You are speaking to someone, who says “this is just the way it is”, or “I didn’t have a choice”, or perhaps “I know it’s not right, but this is our fate”. Or perhaps you have read similar accounts. More often than not, these or similar words are spoken by women – and they are spoken around the world. Have you noticed the inflections in their voices, or the expressions on their faces? Have you wondered about these women and what their lives are truly like? Are these just statements of fact, or do they conceal a much bigger issue?  

Lessons from OECD countries: mental health is critical for human capital development

Patricio V. Marquez's picture
October 11, 2018 - BALI, INDONESIA. 2018 IMF / World Bank Group Annual Meetings. Human Capital Summit 2018: A Global Call to Action. Photo: Grant Ellis / World Bank

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?”  

Entrepreneurs in fragile, conflict and violence-affected countries face unique mental health challenges

Priyam Saraf's picture
(C) World Bank

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.

On World Mental Health Day: A call to invest in interventions for young people

Patricio V. Marquez's picture
Image: WHO World Mental Health Day 2018

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.

Mental Health in Prisons: How to Overcome the Punishment Paradigm?

Patricio V. Marquez's picture
Early this year, I was part of a panel at The Kennedy Forum’s Fourth Annual Meeting on mental health. This year’s meeting focused on the theme, “Bending Towards Justice: A Summit for Mental Health Equity” to address the question Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. posed fifty years ago – ‘where do we go from here?’.

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.

Maternal Depression and Stunted Children: An Avoidable Reality

Patricio V. Marquez's picture



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.

The case for physical and mental wellness programs in the workplace

Patricio V. Marquez's picture



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.”  

In Liberia, providing comfort for kids in the aftermath of the Ebola crisis

Rianna Mohammed-Roberts's picture



The Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) crisis ended more than a year ago in Liberia. It resulted in over 10,000 cases and 5,000 deaths. For many children, the crisis continues through intrusive memories of illness, isolation, and death. These memories are particularly acute for the children directly affected by Ebola; those that were quarantined, separated from family during treatment, or orphaned. The Liberia Ministry of Health (MOH) identified 3,091 such children, and a World Bank working paper calculated that approximately 4,200 Liberian children lost one or both parents to Ebola.

On World Health Day, why I'm choosing to talk about depression

Patricio V. Marquez's picture
Also available in: Español | Français
photo: WHO


This year’s World Health Day carries a particular significance for me and for many others. The theme, “Depression: Let’s Talk,” shines a light upon a problem that oftentimes remains hidden in a dark corner of our minds, trapping us in a painful agony of sadness, loss of interest, and fear. 

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