The World Health Organization (WHO) just released a study stating that more than 300 million worldwide are suffering from the effects of depression. This number is an increase of 18 percent between 2005 and 2015. Many people suffering fear the stigma of depression and the lack the support do not get the help they need. April 7th is World Health Day and caps a year-long campaign named “Depression: Let’s Talk.” This campaign encourages those suffering from depression to get help, hopefully leading to healthy and productive lives.
Major depressive disorder is commonly known as depression. It often comes with low self-esteem, loss of interest in enjoyable activities, little energy, and pain without an apparent cause. Depression can negatively impact a person’s work, school, or personal life, as well as sleeping and eating habits. General health is also adversely affected by depression. The current theory to the causes of depression includes a combination of genetic, environmental, and psychological factors. If the depression is not treated, the person may take their life.
In a press release from the WHO, Dr. Margaret Chan, the director-general said that the numbers were a “wake-up call” for every country about their mental health policies and to treat depression as it deserves, with urgency. People suffering from depression often do not take the first step “towards treatment and recovery” because of the issues regarding mental health: stigma, prejudice, and discrimination said Dr. Shekhar Saxena, Director of the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse at the WHO.
The press release continued by stating that in many countries there is little support for those suffering from depression and other mental health issues. For those living in first world countries, 50 percent of people with depression go untreated, with very little allocated in government budgets for mental health. In the U.S., having better treatment for mental health leads to a return of $4 for every dollar invested. If the proper mental health treatment is not available, there is a economic loss globally of a trillion U.S. dollars each year. Everyone pays if a person suffering from depression or another mental health illness cannot work.
There are also close links between depression and other diseases and disorders classified noncommunicable, the press release stated. Risk factors include substance use disorders, diabetes, and heart disease. Suicide from depression also takes thousands of lives each year. Bringing public awareness to the situation may help to increase empathy and erase the stigma of depression and other mental health illnesses.
By Cheryl Werber