April 7 marks the anniversary of the founding of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the start of its 70th year of operation.
Depression affects 86 million people in South-East Asia region, the WHO said today while lauding India for passing the Mental Healthcare Bill recently and asked nations to scale up mental health services quality. It causes mental anguish and impacts on people's ability to carry out even the simplest everyday tasks, with sometimes devastating consequences for relationships with family and friends.
At its worst, depression can lead to suicide, now the second leading cause of death in 15 to 29 to year olds. Anti-depressant medication and talk therapy are effective for moderate to severe depression.
WHO-Western Pacific Region Director Shin Young-soo stressed that people should talk openly and honestly about depression to break down fear and stigma and prevent its fatal effect - suicide.
"People experiencing depression often find a range of evidence-based coping mechanisms useful, from talking to someone they trust to exercising regularly or staying connected with loved ones".
According to the latest estimates from World Health Organization there have been large increases in the numbers of people living with depression between 2005 and 2015.
In many countries, the WHO says, there is no, or very little, support available for people with mental health disorders.
Dr Fatema Mohamed Musa, head of Service Development at PHCC, said: "Depression is a common mental illness characterised by persistent sadness and a loss of interest in activities that people normally used to enjoy".
The research was presented yesterday at a Health Ministry news forum ahead of World Health Day tomorrow. On average, just 3 per cent of government health budgets are invested in mental health, varying from less than 1 per cent in low income countries to around 5 per cent in high-income countries including the UK.
World Health Day 2017 will be celebrated on April 7. Additionally, patients with these diseases are more likely to develop depression.
The board member underscored the importance of assisting those with mental disorders by encouraging them to go for regular health checks and seeking advice for healthy living. "Talking about it and accepting that you have the symptoms of depression is a crucial step that should be taken".
These people typically lack support because of fear that they may be judged, or they do not know how to get help. They asserted that if someone around us are showing visible signs of depression, then it is important to render them assistance.