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The words of Sartorius and his colleagues from the World Health Organization (WHO) highlight the enormity of the cost of mental disorder to the individual and to society. The question is, who should bear the burden of this cost? Until recently, it was assumed that it would fall mainly on the public purse as services were provided primarily within national health care systems. This is no longer the case, however, as governments throughout the Western world withdraw from the direct provision of health and welfare services and as perceptions of mental disorder change.

Mental disorders cause an enormous amount of misery, suffering, economic loss and decreased quality of life of individuals, their families and their communities. At least 300 million people suffer from such disorders, and it is probable that one third or two fifths of all disability is caused by them. (Sartorius et al. 1989: 178)

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Jo Campling

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© 1999 Pauline M. Prior

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Prior, P.M. (1999). Introduction. In: Campling, J. (eds) Gender and Mental Health. Palgrave, London.

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