Mental Health-lightbulb moment needed

One of the great dividing lines in human history was the discovery of the one-cause-one-disease moment. When pioneers like Pasteur and Semmelweiss worked out that a single, easily identifiable microorganism causes a single, well-defined disease. For example the Trypanozoma protozoan causes Chagas disease. Of course the people who work in this field are experts. But even someone like Michael Gove would agree that there work has immeasurably improved the quality of our lives.

Yet when we come to mental illnesses, the picture is sadly different. Despite the tireless work of many ferociously intelligent people, the origins of mental disorders are not understood in simple cause and effect ways. The link we post here to that admirable charity Mind, makes this all too clear.[1] Our view? We can’t help thinking that a little more spending on research could pay enormous dividends for us all, not just the poor sufferers and their families. But might this happen?

Take the example of a moderately sized, moderately prosperous country such as the UK. (we bet that it is representative of many such) Currently the spend on mental health services in England was about £12.2 billion($14.6bn, Eu14.27 bn) in 2018-2019.[2] Now, you have to boost that up a bit for 2022, as the Government has increased budgets, and there would be the smaller but still significant budgets of the devolved Governments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to take into account. However, we doubt the grand total can be grazing anywhere near £20bn ($24.6 bn, Eu 23.4bn).

Now compare that to the overall UK defence spend. For 2021-2022 this is estimated to rise to £57.7 bn($71.6bn, Eu 67.57 bn).[3] Understandably; the UK considers that itself and its allies are under dire existential threat from aggressive powers such as President Putin and his Russian Federation. Because of people like Putin, no country dare drop its guard, for fear of inviting attack. And herein lies the tragedy for mental health. Imagine if the budgets spent on it could approach those spent on defence! Would causes, and total effective cures be just around the corner? Probably. Perhaps it could even be a form of defence, for good mental health services might even preclude the rise of people like Putin before they got anywhere near the leadership of major nuclear powers.

at LSS we use the term “billion” to mean 109, i.e. 1000 000 000


[2] Source: Mental health watch

[3] Source Armed Forces net

#mental health #disease #putin #russia

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