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Mental disorders are an important cause of long-term disability and dependency, also contribute to mortality. About 14% of the global burden of disease has been attributed to neuropsychiatric disorders.

Unfortunately, the importance of mental disorders for public health has been underestimated for a long time. Moreover, mental health is often excluded from mainstream efforts to improve health and reduce poverty, especially in low-income and middle-income countries. “Mental health is missing from the policy framework for health improvement- and poverty reduction; missing from health and social research; and missing from targets for intervention.”  To meet this challenge, it is crucial to find substantial evidence on the interactions between mental disorders and human health conditions, especially evidences from studies conducted in developing countries.

WHO estimates of the global burden of disease have helped to raise awareness of the enormous effect of mental disorders, both in their own right and relative to other health conditions.

The interactions between mental disorders and other health conditions are widespread and complex. However, there are strong evidences from meta-analysis or systematic review, or consistent evidence from several studies showed following connections between mental disorders and health conditions:

  1. MD is risk factor for the HC: depression and common mental disorder with coronary heart disease; depression with stroke; maternal depression and CMD with impaired child growth and development; maternal psychosis with infant mortality.
  2. MD is a consequence of the HC: depression and common mental disorder with coronary heart disease;  depression with stroke; serious mental illness with HIV/AIDS; cognitive impairment and dementia with HIV/AIDS; cognitive impairment with malaria.
  3. Comorbidity (uncertain causal direction) between MD and HC: depression and common mental disorder with coronary heart disease;  depression with stroke; common mental disorder with diabetes; schizophrenia with diabetes; depression and CMD with HIV/AIDS; serious mental illness with HIV/AIDS; cognitive impairment and dementia with HIV/AIDS; Alcohol-use and substance use disorder with HIV/AIDS.
  4. Adherence to recommendations for diet and exercise,and to oral hypoglycemic medication is low I diabetics with depression.

Mental disorders and other health conditions could have common genetic or environmental risk factors. It is plausible that built environment can play a positive or negative role on prevention of mental disorder. Environmental intervention of mental disorders and other health conditions is worthy of attention.  Neighborhood, a place where people spend most of their free time, is a important setting that we can conduct environmental interventions to reduce depression, stress, attention fatigue, and other mental disorders.  Although LEED Neighborhood Development addressed mental health issues for a few times but it is still not enough for such important problems.

Notes from Prince. et al., 2007

Prince, M., Patel, V., Saxena, S., Maj, M., Maselko, J., Phillips, M. R., & Rahman, A. (2007). Global mental health 1 – No health without mental health. [Review]. Lancet, 370(9590), 859-877. doi: 10.1016/s0140-6736(07)61238-0

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