About 15 percent of Vietnam’s population have mental disorders, a forum in Hanoi heard on April 14.

The conditions include schizophrenic, epilepsy, depression, amnesia, alcohol and drug addiction, and adolescent behaviour problems, said speakers at the Asia-Pacific International Training-research Network on Mental Health Forum.

Addressing the event, Vietnamese Deputy Health Minister Nguyen Viet Tien stressed that the meeting can help establish a regional cooperation network on services, training and research to improve the lives of mental disorder sufferers.

The lack of scientific research and information on mental health hinders the development and implementation of policies on the issue, the official said, emphasising the need to speed up research and provision of evidence on mental health in order to realise goals set in a global action plan on the area for 2013-20.

During the two-day discussions, domestic and foreign participants will share experience and discuss priorities in research in mental health for further cooperation in the region.

The event has drawn participants from many countries, including Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Myanmar and the Philippines. It is being held by the Ministry of Health, the University of Rochester, Melbourne University, the World Health Organisation (WHO), and the University of Oslo.

According to the WHO, mental disorders account for 14 percent of the global disease burden, of which 75 percent is reported in low- and medium-income countries.

With an aim of improving mental health, the organisation has appealed for action from governments; social, multilateral, bilateral and private organisations; global partners; and research agencies.

It has recommended countries to build, strengthen and implement policies, strategies and regulations relating to the issue, while encouraging the involvement of the community and patients’ families in carrying out disease-related legislation.-VNA