Mental health

Maternal and child mental health

Maternal mental health

Worldwide about 10% of pregnant women and 13% of women who have just given birth experience a mental disorder, primarily depression. In developing countries this is even higher, i.e. 15.6% during pregnancy and 19.8% after child birth. In severe cases mothers’ suffering might be so severe that they may even commit suicide. In addition, the affected mothers cannot function properly. As a result, the children’s growth and development may be negatively affected as well. Maternal mental disorders are treatable. Effective interventions can be delivered even by well-trained non-specialist health providers.

Child and adolescent mental health

Worldwide 10-20% of children and adolescents experience mental disorders. Neuropsychiatric conditions are the leading cause of disability in young people in all regions. If untreated, these conditions severely influence children’s development, their educational attainments and their potential to live fulfilling and productive lives.

Key publication

Mental Health Action Plan 2013-2020

The action plan recognizes the essential role of mental health in achieving health for all people. It aims to achieve equity through universal health coverage and stresses the importance of prevention.

Latest publications

Thinking healthy


This manual outlines an evidence-based approach describing how community health workers can reduce prenatal depression through evidence-based cognitive-behavioural techniques recommended by the mhGAP programme.

Psychological First Aid for Ebola Virus Disease Outbreak


This guide focuses on psychological first aid, which involves humane, supportive and practical help to follow human beings suffering serious crisis events.

Preventing suicide: A global imperative


The report provides a global knowledge base on suicide and suicide attempts as well as actionable steps for countries based on their current resources and context to move forward in suicide prevention.

WHO MIND Project