A new global scorecard has been launched to reveal the extent of the mental health crisis worldwide.
The Global Countdown Mental Health 2030 Project will seek to provide better data on illnesses such as depression and anxiety, whilst at the same time providing a much-needed comparative indicator of mental health support between different countries.
The mental health scorecard’s physical health counterpart has existed since 1990 – the Global Burden of Disease. Dévora Kestel, the WHO (World Health Organisation) Director of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, has said that this filling in of knowledge gaps will help to provide a ‘more real mapping of the situation’.
The scorecard will assess countries by successes and failures in mental health recovery, with the broader aim of being able to identify more effective treatments. The scorecard will be produced once every two years.
‘There will be comparisons across countries and across time’ says Professor Shekhar Saxena, one of the leaders of the project. ‘We need to measure how much progress we have made, and establish how we allocate resources’.
The project leaders hope that this new scorecard will encourage states and donors to invest in effective areas of mental health support, as well as getting countries to acknowledge the reality of mental health problems in their own populations.
Indeed, the scorecard could create international competition between state actors to improve mental health services against best practices. It could also make countries more accountable to the international community. There is also a possibility that the scorecard could hold states to account by their own citizens. However, in countries where online content is heavily censored or access to the internet is uncommon, this effect is questionable to say the least.
Scorecard results will also have to heavily depend upon government reporting of mental health conditions in their own countries, particularly where access is limited. This could be problematic if the information provided is skewed, or the outcomes of certain procedures are exaggerated to appear successful.
However, if the project is able to verify data recorded through credible sources, the scorecard would have positive impacts for how mental health illnesses are supported more effectively.
The scorecard will also have a future impact upon how mental health can be discussed by states, both globally and domestically. Hopefully, this will be a huge step forward in reducing the stigma that still haunts mental health.