A Stanford professor recently published an opinion piece about redefining mental illness in the New York Times. She cites British studies that convolute the way most Americans, both in society and the medical community, define mental illnesses. Whether one view is more correct than the other is yet to be concluded. But as one of this week's most emailed articles, the piece speaks most persuasively about the urgency in understanding mental health better. Right now, she explains, we are in a time of "disconcerting awareness that mental health problems are far more pervasive than we might have imagined," considering that the World Health Organization estimates that one in four people will have an episode of mental illness in their lifetime.
She believes that the United Nations should include mental illness goals in its new Sustainable Development Goals this spring. By including it as one of the UN's official goals, researchers and the community at large will hopefully understand mental illness better and find ways to improve care for those suffering. In the end, she emphasises, "we know enough to do something, and to accept that knowing more and doing more should be a fundamental commitment."