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WHO: Mental illness guide helps therapy

Oct. 8, 2010 at 12:57 AM   |   Comments

GENEVA, Switzerland, Oct. 8 (UPI) -- An intervention guide facilitates the management of depression, alcohol use disorders and other mental disorders, World Health Organization officials say.

Dr. Margaret Chan, director-general of WHO, says almost 95 million people who have depression do not receive treatment or care and WHO estimates more than 75 percent of people with mental, neurological and substance use disorders living in developing countries receive no treatment or care.

The intervention guide -- used during primary care -- will significantly increase the number of people who can access care and expensive technologies are not required to improve mental health services, Chan says.

"Improvement in mental health services doesn't require sophisticated and expensive technologies," Dr. Ala Alwan, assistant director-general for non-communicable diseases and mental health at WHO, says. "What is required is increasing the capacity of the primary health care system for delivery of an integrated package of care."

One in four people globally will experience a mental health condition during their lifetime and people with mental, neurological and substance use disorders are often stigmatized and subject to neglect and abuse, Alwan says.

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