Economic despair is killing people. As the recession crisis unfolded in Europe the consequences of austerity measures on poor and middle class individuals, versus maintenance of high caliber medical care for the wealthy came into sharp relief. In Greece, for example, several rounds of austerity measures imposed by the IMF and the EU led to massive reductions in public health and medical services, starting in early 2009. By 2012 the Greek suicide rate and mental illness crisis had soared, pharmaceutical outages were reported all over the country, hospital hygiene and basic services had reached such low levels that doctors advised patients not to seek inpatient care, HIV incidence was climbing, malaria was widespread for the first time since World War II, dengue spread in various regions of the country for the first time in nearly a century, and tragedy plagued every aspect of health protection in the nation. When the state of Greek health was summarized for EU leaders in a May 2013 austerity meeting the Europeans reportedly left in “a state of shock.”
–Laurie Garrett, The Survival of Global Health — Part Three
While the history of public health is fascinating, the present condition of global mental health is enlightening. In an age when public relations has taken precedence over public health, the United States has the world’s highest investment in military power, and, simultaneously, the world’s lowest achievement of mental health.
The October 22, 2013 FRONTLINE special Hunting the Nightmare Bacteria makes it clear there is no turning back the clock; the age of antibiotics is coming to an end. Human misuse of antibiotics and the evolution of bacteria spell the collapse of public health in the 21st Century, and the eventual extinction of the human species. The acceleration of this pandemic — due to collapsing societies deliberately destroyed by international institutions and transnational markets for ideological and monetary reasons — makes it impossible to control. The Coming Plague: Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance (1995) documented the crisis. Betrayal of Trust: The Collapse of Global Public Health (2001) exposed the failure of the UN and World Health Organization to address it.
Melissa Farley of Prostitution Research and Education discusses the public health crisis of pornography, in particular the human trafficking that makes prostitution profitable. Amnesty International is challenged by prostitution survivors to end its support for legalizing these crimes against humanity.