October 10th is World Mental Health Day, aiming at shining light on the prevalence of mental ill health globally and the need to “strengthen mental health care so that the full spectrum of mental health needs is met” .
How common are mental illnesses?
970 million individuals worldwide, or 1 in every 8 people, had a mental illness in 2019 . Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, these numbers have been even more on the rise during the past two years . Anxiety and depression disorders, for example, are estimated to have increased by more than 25% among the global population during the first year of the pandemic .
Economic costs of mental disorders
Statistics show that in 2010, mental diseases cost the global economy US$2.5 trillion in direct and indirect costs, and mental and drug use disorders made up 10.4% of the total global illness burden . By 2030, it is anticipated that the direct and indirect costs of mental illnesses will have doubled – without taking into account expenses related to mental problems that originate outside of the healthcare system, such as legal expenses brought on by the consumption of illegal drugs .
Stigmatization of ill mental health
More than half of those suffering from mental illness do not obtain treatment. People often put off or postpone getting therapy out of fear of being treated “differently or […] losing their jobs and livelihood” . This is due to the fact that stigma, discrimination, and prejudice toward those who have mental illnesses are still major issues in today’s global society.
Often, experiencing external stigmatization can lead to greater self-stigma for individuals, which was linked to worse recovery from mental illness in scientific studies .
The growing treatment gap
The COVID-19 pandemic has sparked a global mental health crisis, causing millions of people to experience short- and long-term stress and jeopardizing their mental health. During COVID-19, the gap in treatment for mental health disorders has expanded significantly, while mental health services have been severely disrupted at the same time . Resources in mental health services are thus limited and often not sufficient to meet the treatment needs for poor mental health .
What needs to change?
Mental disorders are more common than one might think, and prejudices surrounding poor mental health unfortunately only further increase the burden of the diseases on people suffering from them. It is therefore important to raise awareness about mental health problems, destigmatize mental illness, and help to ensure that individuals struggling with their mental health are not facing discrimination.
Given the high economic costs of mental disorders, it is also important to continuously work on improving the treatment support provided. Especially with lacking resources in mental health services and a growing treatment gap, this includes seeking new ways to help individuals suffering from mental health conditions.
How digital solutions for mental health can help
The use of digital platforms for remote patient monitoring and health assessment, as well as real-time patient analytics, could enable personalised treatment and improved quality of care . Digital solutions for mental health could therefore offer the potential to empower and engage individuals with mental disorders to better manage their mental health, facilitating treatment for clinical professionals and empowering family caregivers to help drive down economic costs and increase productivity.
At Monsenso, we have worked with a variety of mental health disorders in both research and clinical settings. Our digital mental health solution has helped many individuals struggling with their mental health to better understand their conditions and live a more independent life, as well as helped clinicians to better support their patients. We are proud to support the World Mental Health Day and will continue to spread knowledge about mental health conditions and offer our support to individuals affected and clinicians providing treatment for mental illness.
Monsenso is a digital health company that enables better outcomes for patients and clinicians through data-driven decisions. We are focused on mental health and user-centred in designing our solutions for patients and clinicians. Our cloud-based platform is a CE-marked medical device (Class 1, pending Class 2a and MDR certification) that is HIPAA compliant, with certifications in ISO 13485, ISO 27001, Cyber Essentials and TGA. Our solution has been clinically and scientifically validated by over 70+ peer-reviewed studies and can be configured for applications across mental health conditions. We work with healthcare systems, life sciences and research organisations globally. Book a demo to learn more.
 World Health Organization (n.d.). World Mental Health Day 2022.
 World Health Organization (2022). Mental disorders.
 Trautmann, S., Rehm, J. & Wittchen, H. (2016). The economic costs of mental disorders. EMBO reports 17(9).
 American Psychiatric Association (n.d.). Stigma, Prejudice and Discrimination Against People with Mental Illness.
 Saraceno, B. (2004). Mental health: scarce resources need new paradigms. World Psychiatry 3(1): 3–5.
 Elsevier Health (2022). Clinician of the Future Report 2022.