2017 World Health Day focuses on depression

4/7/2017  By HealthNews

April 7, 2017 

What's the big deal about depression?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), depression is the #1 cause of disability worldwide, affecting over 300 million people - an increase of over 18% since 2005. The WHO says that lack of support for those with mental disorders, coupled with a fear of stigma, prevent many from accessing treatment.

That's why this year, the WHO has selected depression as their focus for World Health Day, April 7. The campaign slogan of "Depression: let's talk" suggests breaking open that stigma, the sense of shame and secrecy that often accompanies depression.

People don't recognize depression the way they would diabetes.
-Lori Drews, ARNP

"People keep their condition hidden. They're embarrassed by it," says Lori Drews, KVH behavioral health provider. "People don't recognize depression the way they would diabetes. Diabetes can be tested and treated. Many people think they should simply be able to choose not to be depressed, and then they don't seek help for it."

Ironically, depression actually increases the risk of other noncommunicable diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Conversely, these diseases also increase the risk of depression.

Drews notes the common thread of secrecy among those with depression. "They think, 'I should just keep this quiet. I should be able to get over it on my own.' That attitude negatively impacts all areas of their life if they don't address it."

Unfortunately, in many countries of the world, there is little to no support available for people with mental health disorders. New evidence from WHO-led study shows depression and anxiety disorders cost over a trillion dollars of economic loss every year, despite the fact that the most common mental health disorders can be prevented and treated at relatively low cost.

Video: James Chau, WHO Goodwill Ambassador and depression survivor.

Find out more about the Let's Talk campaign.

Managed by Kittitas Valley Healthcare, HealthNews does not provide medical advice. For medical advice, please see your healthcare provider.