Today (Friday 7th April) is World Health Day which marks the anniversary of the World Health Orgainzation’s formation.

This year’s campaign focuses on depression, and in particular focuses on overcoming the barriers that prevent people from seeking help.

Worldwide, mental health disorders are increasing…

Did you know that common mental health disorders such has depression and anxiety, are increasing globally?

Between 1990 and 2013, the number of people suffering from depression and/or anxiety increased by nearly 50%. Close to 10% of the world’s population is affected by one or both of these conditions…

Depression affects people of all ages, from all walks of life, in all countries. It causes mental anguish and impacts on people’s ability to carry out even the simplest everyday tasks, with sometimes devastating consequences for relationships with family and friends and the ability to earn a living.

At worst, depression can lead to suicide, now the second leading cause of death worldwide among 15-29-year-olds…

What is depression?

Depression is more than just a low mood – it’s a serious condition that affects your physical and mental health. It is often characterised by persistent sadness and a loss of interest in activities that you normally enjoy, accompanied by an inability to carry out daily activities, for at least two weeks.

In addition, people with depression normally have several of the following symptoms:

  • fatigue and a loss of energy; sluggishness
  • a change in appetite and/or weight in the absence of dieting
  • sleeping more or less
  • anxiety
  • trouble concentrating
  • indecisiveness
  • restlessness
  • feelings of worthlessness, helplessness, hopelessness or excessive guilt
  • unhappiness; irritability
  • thoughts of self-harm or suicide, or thoughts of death

At times we may experience these symptoms, but it doesn’t necessarily mean we’re depressed. Also, not everyone who experiences depression will have all of these symptoms. The difference with depression is that the symptoms are more severe and don’t go away over time…

Who can depression affect?

Depression can affect anyone. This campaign promoted by the World Health Organization is for everyone, whatever your age, sex, or social status, with particular focus on adolescents and young adults, women of childbearing age (particularly following childbirth), and older adults (over 60s).

Unfortunately in many countries of the world, there is no, or very little, support available for people with mental health disorders. Even in high-income countries, nearly 50% of people with depression do not get treatment…

The good news is that depression can be prevented and can be treated at relatively low cost. Tackling depression early helps prevent symptoms from becoming worse…

An important element of recovery is talking about depression, whether with a family member, a close friend, a trusted colleague or a health professional.

Talking about depression in the workplace or school setting as well as online, also helps people to overcome the stigma often associated with depression, and encourages more people to seek help.

Need some help?

If you’re currently suffering from depression (and anxiety), have a chat with people you care and trust. Seek the professional help that you deserve – speak to your family doctor for an assessment, and for further information and support; this is the first step towards recovery from depression.

For further information on World Health Day, visit the World Health Organization at www.who.int/campaigns/world-health-day/2017/en/

Until next time, wishing you all great health and wellbeing, including good mental health.

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REFERENCES:

Australian Psychological Society, www.psychology.org.au

Better Health Channel, www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au

BeyondBlue, www.beyondblue.org.au

World Health Organization (2017) http://www.who.int/campaigns/world-health-day/2017/en/

#LetsTalk #depression #mentalhealth