Depression On the Rise Worldwide: WHO



Depression crisis looming large worldwide

On the occasion of World Mental Health Day (10th October), it is imperative that as citizens of the world, we do our bit in trying to end the stigma associated with mental health problems, including depression, which is now a very common occurrence among people.

2012 happens to be a red-letter year, as the World Mental Health Day marks its 20th anniversary this year.  It was the World Federation for Mental Health, which pioneered the concept of World mental Health Day in 1992. Due to the growing numbers, depression is on special focus this year.

In common parlance, mood fluctuations are often referred to as depression. But, depression is not mood fluctuation. When there is a longer period of sadness, of about two weeks or more, then this is classified as depression. More often than not, a depressed person is unable to carry on his or her daily activities properly, and this is the warning bell, which needs to be heeded to. Because it is then, when help is most needed. Depending upon the diagnosis, medication or psychological treatment is effectively used as a form of cure.

Stigmatization plays an important role in not getting proper treatment. Most people in depression or even the close members who recognize the symptoms, do not seek help, due to lack of understanding and also negative connotations associated with depression.

Dr Shekhar Saxena, Director of the Department for Mental Health and Substance Abuse, told WHO,

We have some highly effective treatments for depression. Unfortunately, fewer than half of the people who have depression receive the care they need. In fact in many countries this is less than 10%. This is why WHO is supporting countries in fighting stigma as a key activity to increasing access to treatment.

As per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP) report, 200 million workdays are lost in the U.S. annually, due to depression. Absenteeism, disability, loss of motivation, productivity loss among working-age adults are some of the common fall outs of depression.

Many believe that depression is a malaise of the developed nations. But, it is not so. WHO pegs global figures to the tune of more than 350 million people, and it is in the developing nations, that 8 out of every 10 people do no get any treatment at all.

So how can you help? Incase you feel a colleague, a friend, or a family member is showing signs of depression, try and reach out to them in private, and either take them or suggest to them to seek help from a counselor or a professional therapist.  For all you know, this one small gesture from your side may end up saving the person.


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