‘Chaotic global Goals and metrics’ among factors driving incentive and structural misalignments that severely limit global mental health care

By Bill Wilkerson, Executive Chairman,
Mental Health International

The elite global consulting firm, KPMG, has produced a report with the World Economic Forum that is one of the most telling assessments of the underlying reasons behind the lack of adequate care for those living with mental disorders.

Commenting on statistics originally published by the World Health Organization, KPMG says that ”mental-health is one of the largest and most overlooked” challenges globally, noting that mental disorders represent 13% of the world’s disease burden and $2.5 trillion in annual economic losses while receiving less than 2% of national health budgets and only two dollars per person in support across the world.

KPMG describes conflicting incentives and structural barriers within and between health and related sectors that produce inadequate care and poor mental health outcomes – a crisis driven by:

  • Cultures of denial, inevitability and misdiagnosis driving stigma;
  • Lack of integration across healthcare services, schools, housing programs and employers;
  • Lack of cost-effective usage of what funds are available;
  • Chaotic global goals metrics and responses to the needs of populations;
  • Scientific and technological progress lagging in the mental health field.

KPMG conducted roundtables and interviews across more than 10 countries in quest of a “realistic understanding of current trends and to shed light on opportunities to see mental health become the de-stigmatized, community driven, technologically-savvy, status of well-being in the 21st-century.”

Even in the face of significant shortcomings in the availability of access to adequate mental health care, the authors cite “much progress at a global, national and local level across the world focusing principally on efforts to promote youth intervention, employer programs and a shift to community-based care.”

The KPMG report says:

“Perhaps the greatest achievement of all is reaching the ‘tipping point’ of visibility and escalation for the metal health cause (among) a variety of organizations and international platforms.

But this fact remains. Standalone mental health initiatives or strategies around the world are not aligned, the KPMG report says, and therefore do not achieve appropriate attention or funding support, producing a misalignment with far-reaching implications.

Bill’s Postscript

The challenge manifest in these findings is further portrayed in this statistical reality: only one fourth of those living with mental disorders in so-called “developed’ countries and only a fourth of those – one quarter of one quarter – actually receive “guideline-level” care.