Epidemiology is defined as ‘the study of the distribution and determinants of health-related states or events in specified populations and the application of this study to control of health problems’(Mortensen, 2012). It is a powerful tool in dealing with public health and medical problems. Since the publication of the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study in 1996, mental health problems had become a major public health concern(Ustun, 1999). As a result, epidemiological information about mental health problems plays a more important role for that response system(Baxter, Patton, Scott, Degenhardt, & Whiteford, 2013). This essay will discuss the global epidemiology of common mental health problems and the limitations of exist data in low and middle-income countries (LMIC).
The Global epidemiology of common mental health problems
The WMH Survey Initiative from the World Health Organization (WHO) is designed to analyze epidemiological surveys of mental health problems all over the world. These years, large number of surveys are conducted to measure the common mental health problems. According to the completed WMH surveys, the 12-months prevalence of anxiety disorders is on the top position for approximately 11% across surveys, which is followed by mood disorders with a 12-month prevalence estimates about 6%(Kessler et al., 2009). In contrast with developing countries, western developed countries represent higher prevalence both on anxiety and mood disorders. Another global systematic review with 174 surveys around 63 countries from 1980 to 2013 showed that nearly 1 in 5 respondents were identified as common mental disorder during the previous 12 months. Anxiety disorders showed the highest prevalence rate of 6.7%, this was followed by mood disorders (5.4%) and substance use disorders (3.8%)(Steel et al., 2014). It also pointed out that LMIC in East Asia and Pacific area showed a lower prevalence estimates in common mental health disorders than the pooled average. Similarly, studies found that LMIC such as Vietnam, China, Malaysia, Laos and Philippines had the lowest prevalence estimates for MDD.
Limitations of the exist data in LMIC
Epidemiological studies seem have revealed the prevalence of common mental health problems in a global range, however, there still have many limitations of the available data especially in LMIC.
The first limitation is the absence of publishing data in LMIC. This could be attributed to the limited funding for research in LMIC. Moreover, language difficulties hinder the data publication in international journals, which can be peer-reviewed globally. Study revealed there are only less than five percentage of indexed psychiatric journals are originated from MIC and none of them are from LIC(Herrman, 2010). The lack of reports could lead to an underestimate prevalence of common mental health illness.
The second limitation is the available data should not be generalized indiscriminately without considering the...