"Despite the great attention western countries pay to the mind and human consciousness in philosophy and the arts, disturbances of mental health remain not only neglected but also deeply stigmatised across our societies."
These are the introductory words of The Lancet's editor Dr Richard Horton, as The Lancet launches its series on Global Mental Health, which is comprised of Articles and Comments from the some the world's leading experts on mental health.
Dr Horton uses his introductory Comment to call on world institutions -- including WHO, the World Bank, donor countries, the Gates Foundation and others to share the duty of making mental health a central theme of their strategies and financial flows.
He says: "For the most part, these organisations have done far too little, if anything at all. In the past, The Lancet has tried to draw attention to mental health services in particular countries. With a Series of papers launched today from an internationally diverse Lancet Global Mental Health Group, to whom we owe a deep debt of thanks, together with a call to action and a commitment to track and monitor progress across a range of mental health indicators in the run up to a global summit on mental health in 2009, we aim to change this culture of lost opportunity."