Globally, an estimated one in four people will experience a mental health condition in their lifetime. Annually, approximately one million people die due to suicide which is higher than the number of death related to war or murder. Among young people, suicide is the third leading cause of death. Depression is the largest single cause of disability worldwide (11 per cent of all years lived with disability globally). Economic loss due to problems related to mental well-being is vast: A recent study estimated that the cumulative global impact of mental disorders in terms of lost economic output will amount to US$16.3 trillion between 2011 and 2030, while reasonable investment can contribute to better mental well-being. Additionally, there is stigma and discrimination against persons with mental and intellectual disabilities. In disaster settings, protection of persons with mental and intellectual disabilities is often neglected.
As emphasized by the General Assembly, the genuine achievement of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and other internationally agreed development goals requires the inclusion of the rights, well-being, and the perspective of persons with disabilities in development efforts at all levels. The economic, social and health impact of poor mental well-being is pervasive and far reaching, leading to poverty, high unemployment rates, poor educational and health outcome. Mental well-being represents a critical indicator and a key determinant of well-being, quality of life, hope, and sustainable development. However, despite this close link between mental well-being and disability with development, the mental aspects have long been neglected in development discourse. Successful and sustainable development policies and programmes require a renewed prioritization of mental well-being and disability.