Dialogue Series on Non-Communicable Diseases and Mental Health

Over 41 million premature deaths are caused annually by non-communicable diseases (NCDs), with this burden closely linked to poverty. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), modifiable behaviors – e.g. tobacco use and physical inactivity – contribute to the onset of NCDs. They pose a challenge for LMICs and developed countries alike.

Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) kill about 40 million people annually. Comprising chronic lung diseases, diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular diseases, NCDs are the result of a characteristic Western, predominantly urban lifestyle and negative environmental factors. Almost three-quarters of global NCD deaths arise from low or middle income countries, where the incidence of NCDs is on the rise. Key to responding to this rise will be a smart urban development strategy in combination with effective social services including healthcare, education, healthy foods and beverages, fitness and sports, community services, housing and basic urban infrastructure and urban services. Cost estimates from the WHO suggest that investment of as little as $1– $3 per person per year could substantially reduce both morbidity and mortality attributed to NCDs. 

Mental ill-health is the leading cause of disability and poor life outcomes in young people aged 10–24 years, contributing up to 45% of the overall burden of disease in this age-group. Yet globally, young people have the worst access to youth mental health care within the lifespan and across all the stages of illness (particularly during the early stages).

The dialogue series will provide a platform to discuss the ideas, tools and architecture in which public and private stakeholders can build an ecosystem for health promotion and disease management on NCDs and mental health.

Focus Areas for 2019:


  1. Innovations for prevention, treatment and care: Support the WHO Global Coordination Mechanism on NCDs and community-based mental health interventions, and explore innovative efforts addressing NCDs and mental health, including those that use technology.

  2. Access to essential medicines for NCDs: Discuss what is needed to reach target 9 of the Global Monitoring Framework for NCDs, 80% availability of affordable basic technologies and essential medicines in both public and private facilities.

  3. Support global efforts toward better NCD and MH outcomes: promote key recommendations toward achieving the global targets on NCDs and MH, such as the WHO Knowledge-Action-Portal and the Countdown Global Mental Health