World Health Day 2017 – Depression: let’s talk

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The theme of World Health Day 2017 focuses on depression.

A better understanding of what depression is, and how it can be prevented and treated, will help reduce the stigma associated with the condition, and lead to more people seeking help.

By Allianz Worldwide Care | April 03, 2017

Allianz Care - world health day depression

World Health Day is celebrated on April 7th every year to mark the anniversary of the founding of the World Health Organisation (WHO), providing an opportunity for the WHO to mobilise action around a specific health topic of concern to people all over the world.

Common mental disorders are increasing worldwide. 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 alone accounts for 10% of years lived with disability globally.

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 among 15-29-year olds.

The overall goal of the WHO’s 2017 campaign is that more people with depression, in all countries, seek and get help.

What is depression?

Depression is an illness 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:

  • loss of energy
  • change in appetite
  • sleeping more or less
  • anxiety
  • reduced concentration
  • indecisiveness
  • restlessness
  • feelings of worthlessness
  • guilt
  • thoughts of self-harm or suicide

Depression can happen to anyone, and it is treatable with talking therapies or antidepressant medication or a combination of both.

What you can do if you think you are depressed

  • Talk to someone you trust about your feelings. Most people feel better after talking to someone who cares about them.
  • Seek professional help. Your local health-care worker or doctor is a good place to start.
  • Remember that with the right help, you can get better.
  • Keep up with activities that you used to enjoy when you were well.
  • Stay connected. Keep in contact with family and friends.
  • Exercise regularly, even if it’s just a short walk.
  • Stick to regular eating and sleeping habits.
  • Accept that you might have depression and adjust your expectations. You may not be able to accomplish as much as you do usually.
  • Avoid or restrict alcohol intake and refrain from using illicit drugs; they can worsen depression.
  • If you feel suicidal, contact someone for help immediately.

Remember: Depression can be treated. If you think you have depression, seek help.

For more information on World Health Day 2017, visit World Health Organisation

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