‘Depression – A Global Crisis’
World Mental Health Day – October 10th 2012
World Mental Health Day was initiated by the World Federation for Mental Health in 1992 to raise public awareness of mental health issues. This year is the 20th Anniversary of World Mental Health Day and since its launch is now used by over 100 countries worldwide to promote an open discussion of mental disorders, investments in prevention, promotion and treatment services.
Each year there is a theme and 2012 is focusing on “Depression: A Global Crisis”. The World Health Organisation recognises that Depression can affect anyone and is one of the world’s most widespread illnesses with more than 350 million people of all ages affected globally. It is also stated to be a significant contributor to the global burden of disease as it often co-exists with other serious illnesses.
The purpose of World Mental Health Day 2012 is to provide information about Depression as a treatable illness and to send the message that recovery is possible, achievable and unlike many other international issues there IS a solution for Depression which is efficient and cost-effective. Preferable treatment options consist of basic social support combined with medication, if required, or Psychotherapy.
Access to treatment is a problem in most countries and in some countries fewer than 10% of those who need it receive such treatment. It is the limited access to help in my own country that led me to become a Psychotherapist, when I knew there were people who could not get the professional support they needed in the UK, unless they could wait 6 months whilst feeling suicidal.
As such, the aim of World Mental Health Day is to encourage governments and societies around the world to address Depression as a widespread illness that not only affects individuals, but also their families, friends and associates. It is recognised that with the current economic downturn increased unemployment, debt and insecurities have increased incidents of Depression amongst the population of the developed world.
Depression is a complex condition varying in symptoms and degrees with many theories regarding its cause. Most commonly it lowers a persons’ mood, interest and pleasure in the world around them, creates feelings of guilt and low self-esteem and affects sleep, appetite and concentration. Symptoms of anxiety are also prevalent which can lead to a culmination of problems that result in a person being unable to take care of themselves, their everyday life and responsibilities.
Living with Depression can be exhausting, overwhelming and leave people feeling totally helpless and wanting to give up. Depression is real and the first step to a persons’ recovery is to recognise the symptoms, take the illness seriously and to take care of themselves. This is often the hardest part, because wanting to do these all these at the same time can seem impossible to someone with Depression.
The clearest message from World Mental Health Day 2012 is that on an individual, community and international level, it is time for everyone to educate themselves about Depression and support those who are suffering. It is not simply a matter of people needing to pull themselves together to get better, they need help, a daily routine and encouragement from those around them. Depression is very difficult to understand, unless you have experienced it for yourself, therefore it best not to judge, but to ask “How can I help?”
To understand more about Depression download this PDF from The World Federation of Mental Health.