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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

European Mental Health Problem

As the world moves forward into the 21st century, mental health has fast become the world’s largest health problem. A gap in mental health treatment continues to grow wider, not just in America but in Europe as well. People suffering from mental illnesses rarely receive the treatment that they so desperately need, testament to the fact that society still does not understand the social impact that not treating mental illness can have. A large part of the people that we pass every day who are living on the streets are suffering from a mental disability in one form or another.

According to a new study conducted in Europe, there are almost 165 million people or 38 percent of the population who deal each year with a brain disorder such as: depression, anxiety, insomnia or dementia. Sadly, only about a third of the suffering receive any treatment like therapy or medication and those who do receive it typically are given sub-par treatment - a far cry from the state of the art medical techniques available.

"Mental disorders have become Europe's largest health challenge of the 21st century," the study's authors said.

Unfortunately, as more and more people become afflicted by mental illness, drug companies are pulling back their investments in brain research and how it affects behavior. This puts the load on top of governments and charitable organizations to fund most of the research while drug companies get rich off the drugs doctors prescribe.

“The immense treatment gap ... for mental disorders has to be closed," said Hans Ulrich Wittchen, director of the institute of clinical psychology and psychotherapy at Germany's Dresden University and the lead investigator on the European study.

Wittchen led a three-year study covering 30 European countries, including the 27 European Union member states plus Switzerland, Iceland and Norway  - a population of 514 million people. “Those few receiving treatment do so with considerable delays of an average of several years and rarely with the appropriate, state-of-the-art therapies."

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