Depression is the leading cause of disability and ill health worldwide.
There are over 300 million living with depression around the world.
This represents an increase of 18% between 2005 and 2015, according to figures put out by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Almost 50% of people who are depressed do not get any treatment, even in high-income countries.
Two important reasons are:
- Lack of support for people with mental health problems,
- and stigma.
The WHO is currently running a year-long campaign called “Depression: let’s talk”.
Dr Shekhar Saxena, Director of the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse at WHO, said:
“The continuing stigma associated with mental illness was the reason why we decided to name our campaign ‘Depression: let’s talk’.
For someone living with depression, talking to a person they trust is often the first step towards treatment and recovery.”
Depression usually includes the following, lasting for two weeks or more:
- loss of interest in activities that used to be enjoyed,
- persistent sadness,
- and problems with everyday activities.
Dr Saxena said:
“A better understanding of depression and how it can be treated, while essential, is just the beginning.
What needs to follow is sustained scale-up of mental health services accessible to everyone, even the most remote populations in the world.”