Lombard Odier launches Donor Brief on Mental Health in Association with the WHO Foundation

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Lombard Odier launches Donor Brief on Mental Health in Association with the WHO Foundation

In association with the WHO Foundation, Lombard Odier is breaking new ground by publishing a donor brief for individuals and private foundations wishing to make a meaningful contribution to the mental health field. The Brief provides an overview of the field, its main challenges and opportunities to make a difference, as well as seven case studies of pioneering work carried out globally by civil society.

As has become even clearer in the context of the current COVID-19 pandemic, mental health is fundamental to our wellbeing and how we navigate everyday life. It shapes the way we think, feel and behave. Perhaps more than anything else, mental health is vital to our individual ability to participate in and contribute to society.

As has become even clearer in the context of the current COVID-19 pandemic, mental health is fundamental to our wellbeing and how we navigate everyday life

The Donor Brief on Mental Health is intended to be a useful resource for any philanthropist wanting to help individuals suffering from mental health problems. “Mental health problems mean tremendous suffering for those directly affected and for their families. At the societal level, diseases such as Alzheimer’s, depression or schizophrenia result in incredible costs. The necessary investment in mental health to avoid serious financial, economic, and human costs is modest. Current progress in scientific research is very encouraging and deserves our full philanthropic support,” remarks Anne-Marie de Weck, Member of the Board and Secretary of the Board of Fondation Lombard Odier.

The Donor Brief on Mental Health is intended to be a useful resource for any philanthropist wanting to help individuals suffering from mental health problems

Current data suggests that mental health or substance abuse problems affect one in every four people at some point in their lives, with around three quarters emerging by age 24. Despite representing one of the largest causes of disability in the world, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), just 2% of global health care budgets are allocated to mental health. The average expenditure on mental health globally is estimated to be less than US$2 per person per year, and less than US$0.25 in low-income countries. This funding disparity also affects mental health research.

Dr Mark van Ommeren, Unit Head at WHO’s Department of Mental Health and Substance Use, points out that “there is research that is done to lead to new, advanced interventions, but they are unlikely to be available soon around the world without a significant concerted effort. In the medium-term future, with the right basic research, there may even be ways to prevent or completely cure conditions such as schizophrenia. In the interim period, we can and should do whatever we can to help reduce suffering of all people with mental health conditions by implementing the knowledge we have now through community mental health services.”

There is research that is done to lead to new, advanced interventions, but they are unlikely to be available soon around the world without a significant concerted effort

“Beyond costing national economies billions of dollars each year as a result of disability and lost productivity, mental health problems represent a leading and pervasive cause of social inequality, disability and premature death. Mental health has been a priority programmatic area of the WHO Foundation since its inception, and we are delighted to see the importance of this field explained and the many concrete examples of how funding can be essential for projects, programmes, and ground-breaking scientific research,” adds Prof. Thomas Zeltner, Founder and Chairman of the WHO Foundation.

“The case for mobilising capital for mental health is compelling,” comments Dr Maximilian Martin, Lombard Odier’s Global Head of Philanthropy. “Beyond the economic and social costs of mental illness, a staggering number of individuals suffering from these conditions do not receive adequate treatment. With increasing rates of emotional disorders and suicide among youth, we need to act with a new level of ambition. Wealthy individuals can do so through traditional philanthropic grants as well innovative financing mechanisms and impact investments.”

Wealthy individuals can [act] through traditional philanthropic grants as well innovative financing mechanisms and impact investments

The Donor Brief on Mental Health has been researched and published by Lombard Odier Group in conjunction with a Scientific Advisory Board, and is available in English. The Brief can be downloaded free of charge from the Lombard Odier Group website.

The Donor Brief to Mental Health can be downloaded here.

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