Study reveals cost of mental health and substance abuse

HEAVY BURDEN: Professor Harvey Whiteford from the Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research at Wacol is part of a ground breaking research team into mental health and substance abuse.
HEAVY BURDEN: Professor Harvey Whiteford from the Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research at Wacol is part of a ground breaking research team into mental health and substance abuse. Rob Williams

WORLD first research into mental health and substance abuse is being led Professor Harvey Whiteford out of facilities at The Park Centre for Mental Health.

Prof Harvey and his team of University of Queensland researchers from the School of Population and Health found mental health and substance use disorders were the leading cause of non-fatal illness across the world.

Their research was published in internationally renowned journal The Lancet.

Prof Whiteford said the research proves mental health was more of a burden on health systems than diabetes, stroke or infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis combined.

He hopes the research will help form government policy in health funding in the coming years.

"If the impact of mental and substance use disorders is to be reduced, a global effort is required to implement cost-effective prevention and intervention strategies and to develop innovative ways to deliver these to communities," he said.

"Treatment rates for people with mental and substance use disorders are low, and even in developed countries, treatment is typically provided many years after the disorder begins.

"In all countries, stigma about mental and substance use disorders constrain the use of available resources, as do inefficiencies in the distribution of funding and interventions."

Topics:  mental health, professor harvey whiteford, substance abuse, the lancet, the park centre for mental health



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