World Mental Health Day, a programme of the World Federation for Mental Health, has been observed on October 10th since 1992
The world is experiencing the unprecedented impact of the current global health emergency due to COVID-19 that has also impacted on the mental health of millions of people. We know that the levels of anxiety, fear, isolation, social distancing and restrictions, uncertainty and emotional distress experienced have become widespread as the world struggles to bring the virus under control and to find solutions. The current worldwide pandemic arose against an already dire mental health landscape that saw mental health conditions on the rise across the globe.
About 450 million people live with mental disorders that are among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide (WHO’s World Health Report, 2001). One person in every four will be affected by a mental disorder at some stage of their lives while mental, neurological and substance use disorders exact a high toll on health outcomes, accounting for 13% of the total global burden of disease (WHO, 2012). The World Health Organization (2018) states that every 40 seconds someone dies by suicide. Annually, this represents over 800 000 people that die by suicide, which is more than people dying by war and homicide put together.
Mental health is a human right and it is time that mental health is available for all. Quality, accessible primary health care is the foundation for universal health coverage and is urgently required as the world grapples with the current health emergency.
To mark World Mental Health Day 2020, Elsevier presents a curated, open access collection of 25 journal articles and book chapters focused on making mental health a reality for everyone, everywhere. The time for action is now.