By Pamela Collins / The Huddle

We live in a developing country when it comes to mental health, one of the most neglected areas of health in the world. That’s the conclusion of a Lancet Commission on global mental health that I helped author. I’m one of 28 commissioners from around the world who wrote the report, declaring a crisis of inaction. Globally, our responses to mental health needs are woefully insufficient.

You can see this on our streets, too.  

Two months after we moved to Seattle, my husband witnessed a disturbing scene on his walk to work. As he passed a graffiti-painted doorway, he heard screams. He saw a young man, nude from the waist up, with a hypodermic needle jutting from his arm.

In our state, self-harm was the fifth-leading cause of premature death in 2016. Alcohol and drug use disorders caused the greatest risk of death and disability in Washington.  Around the world, mental and substance use disorders, combined, are the leading causes of disability.

Mental health is fundamental to our humanity, and it needs much more recognition from every sector of society.  

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