Pathways in Mental Health

Adolescents Mapping Mental Health Women

Development: March to December 2020

Release: June 2021

Partners: Instituto Veredas

Results: 1222 downloads


Developed between March and December of 2020, in partnership with Instituto Veredas, the “Caminhos em Saúde Mental” (Pathways in Mental Health) study offers a complex understanding of the mental health field, including its history and background in Brazil. For this, we have considered both the understanding provided by international organizations and the Brazilian experience itself – which for decades served as a model for the construction of community care strategies in the world.

This unprecedented publication outlining potential approaches to mental health in Brazil was launched in June 2021, providing a broader while deeper look at the subject, highlighting the main opportunities and challenges to impact the field in Brazil, including a deep dive into our target groups: adolescents and women.
This study meets one of our main goals at the Institute, which is to provide quality information and knowledge on the subject – through an open, informative, empathetic and less polarized dialogue covering both the existing agreements and disputes in the field. The publication is one of our firsts milestones to help pave the debate and action in mental health in Brazil.

As we act as an aggregating element and prioritize the engagement of multiple social sectors around the cause, the report also incorporates the views of experts from different areas: sociology, public management, psychology, medicine, among others. Moreover, the report sets forth 7 different strategies to tackle mental health, highlighting their specific challenges and opportunities, namely: advocacy, empowerment, social support, leadership and governance, health systems, direct mental health strategies and information systems, and scientific data and research.

READ THE COMPLETE REPORT “CAMINHOS EM SAÚDE MENTAL” (Pathways in Mental Health) (only available in Portuguese)

Some of the main highlights brought together by the study are:

Mental health as a global public health issue:

of all people in the world will experience a mental illness during their lifetime
but only 10% will have access to treatment. In 2015, the proportion of the global population with depression was 4.4%, or 332 million people;

Global burden of disease:

Mental and addictive disorders caused the largest global burden of disease in terms of years lived with disability (YLD), representing 32.4% of all years. They caused 13% of all global burden of disease as measured in DALYs, equivalent to cardiovascular and circulatory diseases.

Public and private investments:

Mental health expenditure accounted for less than 2% of government budgets for health, and the situation is even worse in low- and middle-income countries.
In Brazil, health and sports accounted for only 4% of the total BRL2.5 billion of Private Social Investment in 2019.


About 50% of all mental illnesses begin by the age of 14 and 75% by the age of 24, however, the majority of cases (80%) go undetected or untreated



One in five women experience common mental disorders and the rate of depression is, on average, twice the rate of depressed men, and it can be more persistent among women.

Physical and mental overload are identified as two of the main risk factors: in groups with high domestic overload, the number of women with common mental disorders goes up to one in two women.

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