More than 300 million people worldwide are currently living with depression according to latest estimations from the World Health Organisation (WHO), which is an increase of 18% in the decade from 2005 to 2015.
These stats were released in the build up to World Health Day, which is happening today (April 7th), and is the high point of WHO’s year long campaign around “Depression: let’s talk”. The campaign is centered around helping those suffering with depression to both seek and get help, as well as trying to break down the stigma surrounding mental health issues which can prevent people from accessing the professional advice and treatment they need to live a healthy life.
Depression is an illness characterised by feelings of persistent sadness and a loss of interest in activities you normally would enjoy, accompanied by an inability to carry out your day-to-day tasks, for at least 14 days.
It can also present itself through lack of motivation; changes in sleep patterns; feelings of worthlessness, anxiety and restlessness; as well as self-harm and suicidal thoughts.
One of the key things with breaking down the stigma around mental health is to discuss and talk about it, in the workplace, at home and in the media. By talking about depression more it can help employees learn that is that is not a sign of weakness in a person, it doesn’t make someone any less of a person or make them a failure, and that it can happen to anybody.
The risk of becoming depressed is increased by life events such as the death of a loved one or a relationship break-up, physical illness, financial problems, unemployment or other work-related stress, and problems caused by alcohol and drug use.
One of the best things to help support anyone who may be going through depression is to be there for them, giving them someone to talk to, helping them to seek the right treatment and keeping them connected with their friends and family.
For more information on World Health Day and Depression, please visit the World Health Day website, and please remember if you or someone you know is suffering from depression, it can be treated with the right help.