Mental health and substance abuse

A group of refugees carrying possessions and sacks of food on their heads Mental, neurological and substance abuse disorders are universal. These disorders affect about one in every 10 people at any given time. About 25% of families have a family member with a mental disorder. In the Eastern Mediterranean Region, these disorders are responsible for 12.1% of disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) lost due to disease and injury.

The mental health and substance abuse programme provides evidence-based technical support to countries for mental health and substance abuse policies, strategies, legislation and service development, in addition to mental health and psychosocial support for countries in emergencies.

A regional mental health strategy has been developed to promote mental health and prevent and manage mental, neurological and substance use disorders, with respect for human rights and social protection. The principles and aims of the regional strategy are aligned with the recommendations of the World Mental Health Report 2001 and the global mental Health Gap Action Programme (mhGAP) of WHO.


WHO and partners release manual on psychological first aid during Ebola outbreaks

In times of outbreaks, it is critical that helpers be equipped with the know-how to provide humane, supportive and practical help for people who are distressed, in ways that respect...

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WHO MiNDbank: More inclusiveness needed in disability and development

WHO MiNDbank is an online platform bringing together country and international resources, covering mental health, substance abuse, disability, general health, human rights and development, which aims to facilitate dialogue, advocacy and...

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Training workshop on mhGAP intervention guide in Somalia

The assessments carried out on mental health systems using the WHO Assessment Instrument for Mental Health Systems (AIMS) and ATLAS questionnaires from 2005 onwards identified gaps in all domains –...

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In focus

WHO calls on countries to adopt comprehensive suicide prevention strategies

5 September 2014, Cairo, Egypt – Today, WHO publishes a global report “Preventing suicide: a global imperative”. The report reveals that suicide is a serious public health problem worldwide. Every year,...

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Improving quality and human rights in mental health: a training of trainer’s workshop on WHO QualityRights Toolkit, 12–14 December 2012

All over the world, people with mental and intellectual disabilities and substance use disorders are subject to poor quality care and violations to their basic rights. These conditions are also...

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World Mental Health Day, 10 October

World Mental Health Day, 10 October, provides an opportunity to reflect on and discuss prevention, protection and treatment strategies and plans for mental disorders. The theme of the Day this...

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Statistics and figures

In the Eastern Mediterranean Region:

Mental and neurological disorders are responsible for 12% of all disability adjusted life years (DALYs) lost due to disease and injury

Mental health disorders account for 27% of years lived with disability

Drug abuse is responsible for a loss of 4 DALYs per 1000 population

Drug abuse is responsible for 9 deaths per 100 000 population

The overall adult (+15) per capita consumption per year of alcohol is low (0.65L as compared to the global average of 6.13L)