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Previous research suggests that many people receiving mental health
treatment do not meet criteria for a mental disorder but are rather ‘the
To examine the association of past-year mental health treatment with
The World Health Organization's World Mental Health (WMH) Surveys
interviewed community samples of adults in 23 countries
(n = 62 305) about DSM-IV disorders and treatment in
the past 12 months for problems with emotions, alcohol or drugs.
Roughly half (52%) of people who received treatment met criteria for a
past-year DSM-IV disorder, an additional 18% for a lifetime disorder and
an additional 13% for other indicators of need (multiple subthreshold
disorders, recent stressors or suicidal behaviours). Dose–response
associations were found between number of indicators of need and
The vast majority of treatment in the WMH countries goes to patients with
mental disorders or other problems expected to benefit from
Previous community surveys of the drop out from mental health treatment have been carried out only in the USA and Canada.
To explore mental health treatment drop out in the World Health Organization World Mental Health Surveys.
Representative face-to-face household surveys were conducted among adults in 24 countries. People who reported mental health treatment in the 12 months before interview (n = 8482) were asked about drop out, defined as stopping treatment before the provider wanted.
Overall, drop out was 31.7%: 26.3% in high-income countries, 45.1% in upper-middle-income countries, and 37.6% in low/ lower/middle-income countries. Drop out from psychiatrists was 21.3% overall and similar across country income groups (high 20.3%, upper-middle 23.6%, low/lower-middle 23.8%) but the pattern of drop out across other sectors differed by country income group. Drop out was more likely early in treatment, particularly after the second visit.
Drop out needs to be reduced to ensure effective treatment.
Mental and physical disorders are associated with total disability, but
their effects on days with partial disability (i.e. the ability to
perform some, but not full-role, functioning in daily life) are not well
To estimate individual (i.e. the consequences for an individual with a
disorder) and societal effects (i.e. the avoidable partial disability in
the society due to disorders) of mental and physical disorders on days
with partial disability around the world.
Respondents from 26 nationally representative samples (n
= 61 259, age 18+) were interviewed regarding mental and physical
disorders, and day-to-day functioning. The Composite International
Diagnostic Interview, version 3.0 (CIDI 3.0) was used to assess mental
disorders; partial disability (expressed in full day equivalents) was
assessed with the World Health Organization Disability Assessment
Schedule in the CIDI 3.0.
Respondents with disorders reported about 1.58 additional disability days
per month compared with respondents without disorders. At the individual
level, mental disorders (especially post-traumatic stress disorder,
depression and bipolar disorder) yielded a higher number of days with
disability than physical disorders. At the societal level, the population
attributable risk proportion due to physical and mental disorders was 49%
and 15% respectively.
Mental and physical disorders have a considerable impact on partial
disability, at both the individual and at the societal level. Physical
disorders yielded higher effects on partial disability than mental
Burden-of-illness data, which are often used in setting healthcare policy-spending priorities, are unavailable for mental disorders in most countries.
To examine one central aspect of illness burden, the association of serious mental illness with earnings, in the World Health Organization (WHO) World Mental Health (WMH) Surveys.
The WMH Surveys were carried out in 10 high-income and 9 low- and middle-income countries. The associations of personal earnings with serious mental illness were estimated.
Respondents with serious mental illness earned on average a third less than median earnings, with no significant between-country differences (χ2(9) = 5.5–8.1, P = 0.52–0.79). These losses are equivalent to 0.3–0.8% of total national earnings. Reduced earnings among those with earnings and the increased probability of not earning are both important components of these associations.
These results add to a growing body of evidence that mental disorders have high societal costs. Decisions about healthcare resource allocation should take these costs into consideration.
Suicide is a leading cause of death worldwide, but the precise effect of childhood adversities as risk factors for the onset and persistence of suicidal behaviour (suicide ideation, plans and attempts) are not well understood.
To examine the associations between childhood adversities as risk factors for the onset and persistence of suicidal behaviour across 21 countries worldwide.
Respondents from nationally representative samples (η = 55 299) were interviewed regarding childhood adversities that occurred before the age of 18 years and lifetime suicidal behaviour.
Childhood adversities were associated with an increased risk of suicide attempt and ideation in both bivariate and multivariate models (odds ratio range 1.2–5.7). The risk increased with the number of adversities experienced, but at a decreasing rate. Sexual and physical abuse were consistently the strongest risk factors for both the onset and persistence of suicidal behaviour, especially during adolescence. Associations remained similar after additional adjustment for respondents' lifetime mental disorder status.
Childhood adversities (especially intrusive or aggressive adversities) are powerful predictors of the onset and persistence of suicidal behaviours.
Suicide is a leading cause of death worldwide; however, the prevalence and risk factors for the immediate precursors to suicide – suicidal ideation, plans and attempts – are not well-known, especially in low- and middle-income countries.
To report on the prevalence and risk factors for suicidal behaviours across 17 countries.
A total of 84 850 adults were interviewed regarding suicidal behaviours and socio-demographic and psychiatric risk factors.
The cross-national lifetime prevalence of suicidal ideation, plans, and attempts is 9.2% (s.e.=0.1), 3.1% (s.e.=0.1), and 2.7% (s.e.=0.1). Across all countries, 60% of transitions from ideation to plan and attempt occur within the first year after ideation onset. Consistent cross-national risk factors included being female, younger, less educated, unmarried and having a mental disorder. Interestingly, the strongest diagnostic risk factors were mood disorders in high-income countries but impulse control disorders in low- and middle-income countries.
There is cross-national variability in the prevalence of suicidal behaviours, but strong consistency in the characteristics and risk factors for these behaviours. These findings have significant implications for the prediction and prevention of suicidal behaviours.
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