Aspen Institute Report Highlights Urgent Need for Action on Global Mental Health Crisis

July 9, 2024

New report exposes the breadth and depth of the global mental health crisis with an estimated 450 million people suffering annually and $1 trillion in global GDP lost annually.

Contact: Eric Baker
Media Relations Manager
Aspen Institute

Washington, DC, July 9, 2024 – A new report released on Tuesday by the Aspen Institute’s Finance Leaders Fellowship and Dalberg offers a look into the global mental health crisis, revealing a sharp increase in mental health disorders and the economic impact of inaction.

Key Findings:

  • An estimated 450 million people globally suffer from mental health conditions, underscoring a pervasive crisis exacerbated by inadequate funding and lack of infrastructure. (Pg. 1)
  • Mental health issues are the leading cause of disability worldwide and a major contributor to suicide, the second leading cause of death among 15-29-year-olds.  (Pg. 1)
  • Economic impacts are severe, with mental health conditions costing global GDP approximately $1 trillion annually due to lost productivity. (Pg. 6)

Implications for Policy and Health Infrastructure:

The report calls for significant reforms in health policy and investment in mental health services. It highlights the necessity of addressing the lack of parity between mental and physical health services and reducing the stigma associated with mental health issues.

Global and Community Impact:

No demographic is immune to mental health issues, with increasing rates of anxiety and depression across various populations, influenced by the pandemic and other socio-economic factors. The report highlights that one in five women and one in eight men are now experiencing common mental disorders such as anxiety or depression.

“This report includes interviews with people who have lived through the darkness of depression, the isolation induced by anxiety, and the societal stigma often associated with mental illness. These views are crucial for our understanding and action,” remarked Derek Yach, Global Health Consultant at Global Health Strategies LLC and report co-author. “Medicated solutions play an important but limited role in addressing such concerns. Restoring spiritual dimensions to people’s lives has the potential to avoid much of the suffering or at least, support people to better cope with it. This compels us to innovate and adapt our health systems to be more inclusive, understanding, and supportive of those who endure these profound challenges.”

Innovative Solutions and Technologies:

The study shares promising developments in technology and treatment modalities that could revolutionize access to mental health care. While promising, the solutions outlined in the report require further investment to keep up with the scale of this issue. These innovations have the potential to expand services and reduce costs if supported by appropriate investment and policy changes. The study also highlights the value of non medicated interventions of high value to the prevention and management of mental illness. These include community support, spiritual dimensions, and physical activity.

“There is an urgent need for significant investment in mental health services globally. Finance leaders have a role to play here.” stated Erika Karp, Executive Director of the Finance Leaders Fellowship at the Aspen Institute. “Investing in innovative solutions like telepsychiatry, digital mental health applications, and integrated care models expand access to mental health services but also offer more cost-effective and impactful treatments. By prioritizing funding these approaches, we can begin to address the disparities in mental health care.”

Call to Action: 

The report urges governments, healthcare providers, and investors to prioritize mental health care reform and invest in scalable solutions that can alleviate this pressing global issue.

Interested press may contact Eric Baker at


The Aspen Institute’s Finance Leaders Fellowship is developing a global community of values-based senior finance leaders driving a form of capitalism that is more regenerative and inclusive. The Fellowship engages industry leaders on a transformational journey where deep reflection on their roles and responsibilities ignites their potential to make a significant impact and create a better world. With 126 Fellows across 22 countries, we use the Aspen Institute method of text-based dialogue, and build upon the Institute’s commitment to humanistic, action-oriented leadership. A part of the Aspen Global Leadership Network (AGLN), the program encourages selected Finance Fellows to consider values and perspectives necessary for effective leadership in finance and in society at-large. The Finance Leaders Fellowship was co-founded in 2016 by Aspen Institute Henry Crown Fellow, Ranji Nagaswami, and Aspen Institute Trustee, Chris Varelas. For more information, visit

Dalberg’s vision is a more sustainable planet and inclusive societies where all people can thrive. As a diverse, purpose-driven community of professionals, it works in collaboration with local communities and global networks to create bold and equitable solutions and develop the next generation of impact leaders. Dalberg brings together capabilities in strategy development, equity-centered community design, data, research, implementation, and communications to achieve its mission of solving the most pressing challenges of our time through systemic change. For more information, visit

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