Singer/Actress Lady Gaga and World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom wrote an article for Mental Health Awareness Day, explaining that over 800,000 people commit suicide every year.
“Sometimes they are famous names such as Anthony Bourdain or Kate Spade that make headlines, but they are all sons or daughters, friends or colleagues, valued members of families and communities,” the pair wrote in an opinion piece published in the Guardian Wednesday.
Lady Gaga has experienced crippling depression, and she, along with celebrities across the globe, have united and opened up about their personal struggles with mental illness.
“Within families and communities, we often remain silenced by a shame that tells us that those with mental illness are somehow less worthy or at fault for their own suffering,” they said.
While the issue is challenging enough in developed nations, in developing nations the situation is far more dire due to the shortage of medical professionals and prevailing stigma around mental health conditions.
“In too many places support services are non-existent and those with treatable conditions are criminalized – literally chained up in inhumane conditions, cut off from the rest of society without hope,” the writers said.
Currently, less than one percent of global aid is donated to mental health. Even in the world’s most developed countries issue is being dismissed.
“At present, every nation in the world is a ‘developing’ country when it comes to mental health,” the pair wrote.
U.S. Politician Bernie Sanders echoed these sentiments from his personal Twitter account:
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) October 10, 2018
The article explained that global mental health conditions cost around $2.5 trillion US per year, “a figure that is expected to balloon to $6tn by 2030 unless we take action.”
In a report from the WHO earlier this year, at least 177 countries were featured and it charted its progressive implementation of its 2013 global action plan on mental health. Despite some improvements in communities around the world, there’s still a long way to go.
Lady Gaga and Adhanom closed by saying, “The two of us have taken different paths in life. But both of us have seen how political leadership, funding, innovation and individual acts of bravery and compassion can change the world. It is time to do the same for mental health.”