"Good treatments are available for many mental disorders. Yet, the world continues to struggle with the very real challenge of providing these services to the people who most need them. The WHO survey unmistakably reinforces the urgency that we must do better," The Lancet quoted NIMH Director Thomas R. Insel, as saying.
The study also found that women are more likely to seek mental services, as compared to men and middle aged were more keen on receiving the services than younger ones.
According to the survey, more-educated people were open to mental health services while married people more often do not use mental health services than unmarried people.
Those, who sought these services, received medical attention from primary care doctors, nurses than psychiatrists, psychologists, religious or community counselors, or complementary and alternative medicine providers (including traditional healers).
Many reported that they did not receive even minimally sufficient services. - at least eight visits to any service sector or receiving ongoing treatment for at least a month.
Though inadequate services are common in developing countered, the study found that even in countries like the US, only 18 percent received minimally adequate services—much lower than any other high-income country.
US was followed by Japan. France and Germany had the highest level of adequate services, at 43 percent each.
"Although people sought and used services more in the United States, most did not receive adequate care—evidence of a striking disconnect in the U.S. mental health care system," said Philip S. Wang, M.D., Dr.P.H., currently director of the NIMH Division of Services and Intervention Research, who conducted the research while he was at Harvard University.
"We need to help developing countries implement more effective mental health care services, but we also need to do a better job at home. The global mental health care situation appears dire," concluded Dr. Wang.
The study is published in September issue of The Lancet in September 2007.