World Mental Health Day 2020 (Guest blog)

Amid the Covid-19 global pandemic, all of us have become more aware of our health, and particularly our mental health and well-being. Now more than ever, it’s crucial to raise awareness around the importance of keeping ourselves healthy and to continue the fight against the stigma associated with brain diseases.
That is why I am so passionate about World Mental Health Day, which takes place annually on October 10. This year’s theme, ‘Mental Health for All,’ is particularly fitting in these trying times.
In 2017 it was estimated that’s almost 11% of the world’s population was living with a mental health disorder. Alarmingly, the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that people with severe mental health disorders have a 10-25-year life expectancy reduction.

But it’s not only the human cost of mental health that’s worrying, the global cost of mental health disorders is expected to reach $16 trillion by 2030. While some of the costs will be the direct costs of healthcare and medicines, most are indirect - in the form of loss of productivity, and spending on social welfare, education and law and order.
Lundbeck’s purpose is to restore brain health, so every person can be their best. We want everyone to have timely access to mental health care services to safeguard their well-being and treat their disorders in an effective way.
We see innovation as a key driver to improving Mental Health for All. The brain is a very complex organ, and there are still no biomarkers for predicting, diagnosing or assessing treatment for psychiatric disorders. Even though we do not yet have cures, innovative treatments that improve the functioning and quality of life for people are essential to effectively managing these diseases.

We have a long road ahead to achieve Mental Health for All. Greater investment and collaboration are needed to address the stigmatization of mental health disorders, the lack of parity of care between physical and mental disorders, and poor access to diagnosis and treatment. However, by collaborating with scientific, medical and advocacy communities, and with decision-makers we can get closer to our goal.
Join me and my colleagues in celebrating World Mental Health Day on October 10. Join the social media campaign, raise awareness and let’s fight stigma together.

Deborah Dunsire

Dr Deborah Dunsire is President & CEO of H. Lundbeck A/S.
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