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World Health Day: Depression is leading cause of illness and disability, says WHO

Posted on 04-07-17 in Depression, Mental Health, Treatment

The health care system across the world has made great strides. However, the increasing prevalence of mental health problems like depression across the world, including the United States, shows that the advanced health care system in developed countries has not been able to help much in tackling depression.

“The current state is that depression is neither being identified nor treated adequately anywhere in the world,” the Daily News quoted Dr. Shekhar Saxena, Geneva-based director of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse. According to Dr. Saxena, even developed countries falter in this regard where nearly 50 percent patients of depression go without treatment and identification.

According to the WHO, depression is the number one cause of disability and illness globally. Plaguing more than 300 million people the world over, depression rate jumped by 18 percent during 2005-2015.

Looking at the severity of the problem, this “World Health Day,” observed on April 7, the focus is on depression. With the theme “Depression: Let’s Talk,” the WHO plans to fight the stigma and discrimination associated with depression and urge people to seek treatment earnestly. The treatment usually comprises talk therapy and/or medication.

Identification and intervention is crucial

Since depression is a major public health concern, governments should allocate a substantial amount towards addressing depression and other mental health conditions. The biggest challenge is identifying and offering treatment to those who need it the most.

Moreover, even the government fund is not sufficient. On an average, governments across the globe allocate a meager 3 percent for mental health. This is not beneficial for anyone, rather a colossal loss for the government and the general population. The WHO noted that the toll associated with depression and anxiety amounts to nearly $1 trillion in terms of lost productivity, absenteeism at work and other health expenses linked to these conditions.

Time to stress on depression treatment

Depression is not just a foul mood that would go away after a while by itself. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), says, “Depression is more than just feeling down or having a bad day. When a sad mood lasts for a long time and interferes with normal, everyday functioning, you may be depressed.”

Yet, there are no known causes for depression. It could be due to a cluster of factors, including genetics, biological, environmental and psychological causes. These may vary from individual to individual. This shows that a treatment with a one-size-fits-all kind of approach would do no good. In fact, a more individualized program would yield better and faster results for the patient.

Stirring up a discussion vital for depression

It is not advisable to refrain from discussing depression openly with family and friends. “We suggest that people start talking about depression with their friends, with their family, and with their health care providers,” said Dr. Saxena. Talking becomes the basis and starting point of any intervention program for depression, notes the expert from WHO.

Dealing with depression and other mental health conditions

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) stated in 2015 that 16.1 million people, 18 years old and up (6.7 percent), had at least one major depressive disorder in the past year. This explains how grave a problem depression can be for the people.

Even teens suffer from depression and need the same amount of intervention and care. Sovereign Health is a leading care provider in all major mental health conditions in the U.S. Our residential treatment centers for teens are located in all major places in the country. Whether it is a residential treatment program for teens or any adult patient for any mental health condition, call at our 24/7 helpline number 888-530-4614 for a quick resolution.