Mental Illness in Asia: Soaring Need for Medical Devices and Pharmacological Products

An alarming jump in mental illness in some of Asia’s fastest developing countries has made the region the third largest market in the world for mental health therapeutics, even as social stigma and lack of professional services leave a majority of the afflicted without appropriate care. The unmet need is most pronounced in high-income countries including Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan, according to multiple new surveys. As reported by the South Korean government in a survey conducted this spring, one in four South Koreans experiences multiple mental health issues in their lifetime, but only one in ten seeks professional help. And the Economist reports that in New Zealand and Australia, the economic impact of mental illness currently reduces the GDP by 5% and 3.5% respectively.

Depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, suicidal behavior, and substance abuse disorder top the list of mental health problems in the region, according to the World Health Organization. The demand for medical device and pharmacological therapies to help meet the need for mental health services is growing faster in Asia than in the North American and European markets.