Worldwide, anxiety affects one billion people. Nearly a third of that figure suffer from depression, 60 million suffer from bipolar affective disorder, and a further 21 million have schizophrenia or other severe psychoses. Additionally, dementia—already a widespread condition—is expected to impact more than 150 million people 30 years from now.6 Health systems have not yet adequately responded to the burden of mental disorders, and the gap between the need for treatment and its provision is wide all over the world. In low- and middle-income countries, between 76% and 85% of people with mental disorders receive no treatment for their disorder.7
With more than 60 years of supporting those affected by mental illness, Johnson & Johnson is committed to expanding access to transformational mental health innovations to positively impact people’s lives.
Mental health and the environment: In 2019, we expanded the scope of our environmental health strategy and partnerships to consider support for better health, especially for better mental health, which comes from spending time in nature and other natural exposures. We initiated a new partnership with the Institute for European Environmental Policy to examine how policy can support better mental health through ensuring access to nature. We also initiated a partnership with the Gund Institute, a cross-functional environmental research organization based at the University of Vermont, to support research examining new ways to assess the connections between mental health and natural exposures.
Johnson & Johnson collaborated on a report outlining strategies to improve workplace mental health, published by the American Heart Association CEO Roundtable in 2019.
For our 2019 neuroscience pharmaceutical innovation, see the R&D: Pharmaceutical section.
Supporting mental healthcare in Rwanda
The partnership we established in 2018 with the Rwanda Ministry of Health to strengthen and expand access to quality mental healthcare in the country made strong progress in 2019:
- RISPERDAL (risperidone), our oral medicine for the treatment of schizophrenia, received marketing approval by the Rwanda Food and Drug Administration. Facilitating increased access to innovative antipsychotics like risperidone is an important early step on the road to better treatment, care and outcomes for patients in countries without strong mental healthcare infrastructure and services to treat schizophrenia.
- We completed the first-ever mental health clinical study that will inform feasibility and capacity-building for a future mental health open-label clinical study of the health, economic and social impact of long-acting injectable antipsychotics for the treatment of people with schizophrenia to be completed by 2024. Thirty-one patients in this study were successfully transitioned to a two-year post-trial access program for paliperidone palmitate three-month formulation.
- We co-developed and launched a remote training system for over 48,204 registered community health workers across all 30 districts of Rwanda. The eight training modules are based on a Ministry of Health curriculum on mental healthcare and include content on recognizing early signs of mental disorders, best practices for mental health first aid, and guidance on when to refer patients for additional care.
- Along with a grant from the Johnson & Johnson Foundation, Johnson & Johnson helped enable Partners In Health (PIH) to bring critically needed services to two districts in Rwanda's Eastern Province—Kirehe and Kayonza—and create a new generation of mental healthcare professionals. The focus of the program is having psychiatric nurses from district hospitals train nurses in local health centers to diagnose and treat mental health. In this first year of the three-year grants, PIH was able to train 115 healthcare providers in mental healthcare and provide 2,833 patients with access to mental healthcare.
- We co-sponsored the first annual Mental Health Summit in Kenya where the keynote speaker at the summit, Dr. Yvonne Kayiteshonga, Mental Health Division Manager at the Rwanda Biomedical Centre at the Ministry of Health, discussed the progress made in Rwanda and our mental health partnership. Our purpose was to continue to raise awareness and prioritization of mental health within the East Africa region healthcare agenda utilizing the influence of Rwanda and Kenya together to shape this narrative.
- At a meeting in Kigali to launch the 2019 – 2024 Health Sector Strategic Plan, the Honorable Dr. Diane Gashumba, former Minister of Health of Rwanda, recognized Johnson & Johnson for our contributions to the Rwandan health sector, on behalf of the Ministry of Health.
Mental health initiatives in China
More than 54 million people in China suffer from depression.8 Proper diagnosis and treatment for depression are rare, especially in underserved regions, with less than two out of 10 patients seeking medical help or taking medications. In 2019, we signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Holmusk, a digital health and data analytics company, to explore the development of a digital mental health strategy in China. In order to develop integrated solutions for people living with mental health disorders, the MoU brings together Janssen’s 60-plus years of experience in mental health along with its China neuroscience portfolio and Holmusk’s therapeutics design expertise.
In Janssen, we have a partner that is dedicated to transforming how mental health is managed in China. We have confidence that we can establish data as a core utility to the treatment of mental health and provide the capacity for leapfrog-change in the provision of care and research into new treatments.