Global Burden Of Disease Studies Implications For Mental And Substance Use Disorders
Author: Harvey Whiteford, Alize Ferrari, Louisa Degenhardt
Global Burden of Disease studies have highlighted mental and substance use disorders as the leading cause of disability globally. Using the studies’ findings for policy and planning requires an understanding of how estimates are generated, the required epidemiological data are gathered, disability and premature mortality are defined and counted, and comparative risk assessment for risk-factor analysis is undertaken. The high burden of mental and substance use disorders has increased their priority on the global health agenda, but not enough to prompt concerted action by governments and international agencies. Using Global Burden of Disease estimates in health policy and planning requires combining them with other information such as evidence on the cost-effectiveness of interventions designed to reduce the disorders’ burden. Concerted action is required by mental health advocates and policy makers to assemble this evidence, taking into account the health, social, and economic challenges facing each country.