Mental, neurological and substance use (MNS) disorders impact on humans world-wide. These disorders account for 14% of the global burden of disease - but three quarters of the people affected live in low-income countries where treatment and support are inadequate or worse, non-existent.

In 2008 the WHO established the Mental Health Gap Action Programme (mhGAP) which focuses on filling the MNS service gap in poorer countries.

The BBC reports that in Afghanistan, nearly 50% of those over 15 years suffer from problems like anxiety and depression. The country has been ravaged by conflict for 30 years and no mental healthcare is available outside of the capital Kabul.

Institutions in resource-deprived countries are horrifying. See for yourself in this grim video clip of an institution in Accra, the capital of Ghana.


In many countries there is little or no psychological support, with one psychiatrist or less per 200,000 the norm for nearly half the world's population, and some with less than one mental health specialist per one million population.