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Mental health and development: Targeting people with mental health conditions as a vulnerable group

This report presents evidence that people with mental health conditions meet major criteria for vulnerability and should be targeted for protection by development programmes. Mental illness such as schizophrenia, depression or bipolar disorder are common but largely neglected.

The WHO makes the case that because of their vulnerability, people with mental health problems need to be given opportunities for education and work, and to be included in decisions that affect them.

It argues that mental health should be built into sectoral and broader plans for development, with government agencies, NGOs and other stakeholders playing a key role in ensuring this. To make implementation a reality, interventions and mainstreaming efforts should be funded adequately, and recipients of development aid should be encouraged to address the needs of people with mental health conditions. The report recommends actions as a starting point towards these aims.