05 April 2009

Taking Anxiety Seriously

Depression and anxiety account for 15% of visits to primary health care providers, in developing countries as well as rich ones. Yet this is often paid little attention. Last year’s World Bank health report measures diseases by “disability adjusted life years” (DALYs).

Among non-communicable diseases, only cardiovascular problems account for more time lost than psychiatric illnesses. The World Health Organization’s push to incorporate mental health into primary care in developing countries is frustrated by a dearth of trained personnel.

Another obstacle in many societies is the heavy stigma associated with serious illnesses like schizophrenia.



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