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World Health Day

World Health Day is celebrated every year on the 7th April, the anniversary of the World Health Organisation (WHO). This year, World Health Day on 7th April 2017 will mark the launch of a one-year campaign called ‘Depression: Let’s Talk’.

Depression will affect a staggering one in five of us in our lifetime, yet despite being so common, it’s still largely hidden away. Even more concerning, the prevalence of Depression is rising. The number of people living with Depression has increased by over 18% between 2005-2015, with most sufferers being in low to middle-income countries, and it being the single largest cause of disability worldwide.


Depression – The Facts

Given that Mixed Anxiety and Depression is the most common mental disorder in Britain with 7.8% suffering, it’s vital to understand it. This is what this new campaign being launched on World Health Day is all about.

Depression, in its simplest understanding, has huge repercussions on the sufferer, and their friends and family. It can affect someone’s ability to function with everyday tasks, and their ability to work. It is a profound sadness, or lack of motivation with life and daily activities, for a minimum of two weeks. Common symptoms include lack of energy; appetite changes; sleep disturbances (either more or less); anxiety; inability to concentrate; indecision; feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness; and sometimes ideas of self-harm. Symptoms range from mild to severe. At its most severe, it can lead to suicide. Depression affects different people in different ways.

However, Depression can be both prevented, and treated. If you are unsure whether you have Depression, the NHS has an online test which will give insight and pointers about whether, and how, to seek help.

What Causes Depression?

Depression can affect everyone, regardless of age, background, gender, or nationality. However, certain groups are at greater risk. Depression risk factors include poverty, physical health issues, unemployment, alcohol and drug usage and associated problems, and life events including bereavement or relationship difficulties.

Depression – What We Can Do

The over-riding goal of the ‘Depression: Let’s Talk’ campaign is to get the message out: ‘seek and get help’. Talking, removing the stigma, and removing the isolation of someone suffering from Depression is the primary element towards recovery. This is why it is imperative to open up discussion and remove the embarrassment and shame people often feel when talking about this condition.

Seeing your GP is the first step to getting treatment and recovering from Depression. The sooner you see your GP, the sooner you will recover. Treatment usually takes a multi-pronged approach. It may include lifestyle changes, anti-depressant medication, and talking therapies, or, if it is mild, ‘watchful waiting’ to see if it improves with time. Your GP will discuss your particular case, and the severity of your Depression, before making treatment recommendations.

Talking therapies, including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), have been shown to help with Depression. Some talking therapies are available on the NHS, but you may prefer to seek a private therapist. For professional counsellors in your area, use this search facility.

World Health Day – Changing the Stigma of Depression

Campaigns such as the World Health Organisation ‘Depression: Let’s Talk’ campaign, and Prince Harry supported ‘Heads Together’ campaign, are seeking to change the stigma associated with Depression. Speak out and get help for yourself or your loved one to help combat Depression.

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