BIREME Bulletin n° 73

World Mental Health Day 2022 focuses on the effects of COVID-19

The COVID19 pandemic increased the need for Mental Health care and, at the same time, caused the interruption of services in 60% of the countries of the Americas in 2021.

World Mental Health Day 2022 focuses on the effects of the pandemic on the mental health of populations around the world, an unprecedented event in recent history that, in addition to causing serious damage to physical health, impacted with equal – or greater – seriousness the mental health of people of all ages.

In general, without considering COVID-19, mental health disorders increase the risk of other diseases and contribute to unintentional and intentional injuries; depression continues to occupy the main position among mental disorders and is twice as frequent in women than men; Mental and neurological disorders in older adults, such as Alzheimer’s disease, other dementias, and depression contribute significantly to the burden of noncommunicable diseases. For severe and moderate mood disorders, anxiety, and substance abuse in adults, the median treatment gap is 77.9% in Latin America and the Caribbean. In this scenario, meanwhile, the median public spending on mental health in the entire Region is barely 2.0% of the health budget, and more than 60% of this money goes to psychiatric hospitals. In 2013, the World Health Assembly approved the 2013-2020 Comprehensive Mental Health Action Plan. At the regional level, it has been decided to review the Mental Health Action Plan, adopted in 2009, to update it and align it with the PAHO Strategic Plan and the WHO Comprehensive Mental Health Action Plan.

High-Level Commission on Mental Health and COVID-19

The PAHO High-Level Commission on Mental Health and COVID-19 promotes mental health as a fundamental component in the recovery from the pandemic.

PAHO has established the High-Level Commission on Mental Health and COVID-19 to support the Organization and its Member States in improving and strengthening mental health in the Americas, both during the pandemic and in the future.

The Commission is made up of various representatives of health, social, and political organizations, academia, civil society, and people with lived experience from the countries of the Region. Its mission is to develop guidelines and recommendations to advance mental health in the Region and to produce a Report containing key recommendations to improve Mental Health in the Americas and transform mental health systems and services in the post-COVID-19 pandemic period.

Windows of Knowledge

In order to fulfill its mission of making qualified information on mental health available to health professionals, researchers, decision makers, and society in general, BIREME/PAHO/WHO developed, with the support of specialists, the Mental Health Window of Knowledge which includes access to the main resources and documents on the fight against stigma, mental disorders associated with COVID-19, and suicide prevention, which are all topics highlighted on World Mental Health Day 2022.

Suicide prevention, a subject that is closely related to mental health, and whose World Prevention Day was celebrated on September 10, is also the subject of this information source, the Suicide Prevention Window of Knowledge.


Links of Interest

Pan American Health Organization. Health issues. Mental health. Available at:

World Health Organization. 2013. Comprehensive Action Plan on Mental Health 2013-2020. Available at: (Spanish)

Mental Health and COVID-19. Resources for health professionals, for the public, videos, seminars and virtual courses on mental health related to the pandemic are related to this web page. Available at:

Pan American Health Organization. Campaign to reduce stigma in public health. Available at:

Mental Health Window of Knowledge. 2022. Available at:

Suicide Prevention Window of Knowedge. 2022. Available at:

PAHO TV. 2022. The Impact of the pandemic on mental health. Available from:

Virtual Platform of the PAHO High-Level Commission on Mental Health and COVID-19. 2022. Available from:


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