9.1.3  No health without mental health

It is not possible for a person to be healthy unless they have good mental health. Often mental health and general health (‘physical’ health) affect one another. Here are some examples of how mental illness is linked to other health conditions that are important in Ethiopia:

  • Millennium Development Goal 4: Child health In Ethiopia, children have an increased risk of diarrhoea if their mother suffers from undetected mental illness. Other studies have shown that the children of mothers with mental illness also have poorer development.
  • Millennium Development Goal 5: Maternal health In Ethiopia, women who suffer from mental illness are more likely to have a prolonged labour and delivery. In women with complications during pregnancy or childbirth, the risk of mental illness after the birth is increased.
  • Millennium Development Goal 6: HIV/AIDS In Ethiopia we know that people with HIV/AIDS are at increased risk of developing mental illness. People with HIV/AIDS who also have a mental illness are more likely to get worse faster and die earlier than people in good mental health.

Box 9.2  Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)

By 2015 all countries in the world are committed to achieving the following goals:

MDG 1 End poverty and hunger

MDG 2 Universal education

MDG 3 Gender equality

MDG 4 Child health (reducing under-five mortality by two-thirds)

MDG 5 Maternal health (reducing maternal mortality by three-quarters)


MDG 7 Environmental sustainability

MDG 8 Global partnership.

9.1.2  The burden of mental illness

9.1.4  Mental health and poverty (Millennium Development Goal 1)