April 7th marks the anniversary of the founding of WHO, the World Health Organization. World Health Day celebrates the founding by choosing one aspect of health to focus on and support. For 2017 that aspect is depression.
Most of us know someone who is affected by depression and many of us are affected personally. Depression affects people in all countries, in all walks of life and at any age. At its worst depression can lead to suicide, the leading cause of death between people aged 15-29. It’s awful, but there is hope and this year’s World Health Day aims to encourage action and conversation too.
Ultimately, just talking about depression can lessen the stigma surrounding it and that makes it easier for people to seek assistance. Being open to conversations about how we feel with your children, in schools and amongst your peers means that more people will feel empowered to talk about their own feelings and that’s the first step.
Many people can feel depression long term or just temporarily but not talking about it can compound the issue. Sadness is a normal, human emotional response to a variety of life situations but if you can’t shake it, if it affects your life or the lives of your friends and family members or if you feel as though you will never overcome then there is help available.
Do you know the symptoms of depression?
- a loss of energy;
- a change in appetite;
- sleeping more or less;
- reduced concentration;
- feelings of worthlessness, guilt, or hopelessness; and
- thoughts of self-harm or suicide.
Nearly 50% of people suffering from depression do not get treatment. How can we change this and get more people help? What can you do? Get a conversation started! Organize a speaker for your workplace. Read to your kids about emotional health and ask them how they are feeling. Be open with your own feelings and communicate to the people in your life when you are sad or worried or angry or happy. Just talking about emotions makes it easier for others to talk about their feelings too and that makes it less difficult to say “This isn’t getting better, I might need help.”
To get involved with World Health Day or to share your own messages of support on social media visit the WHO campaign site.