The World Health Organisation (WHO) celebrates World Health Day on the 7th of April every year coinciding with the organisations founding. This day provides a unique opportunity to rally action and attention towards a specific health topic that is a concern to people all over the world.
The theme of the 2017 World Health Day campaign is depression.
Depression is an illness characterised by persistent sadness and a loss of interest in activities that you normally enjoy, accompanied by an inability to carry out daily activities. Depression does not discriminate – it affects people of all ages, in all countries and from all walks of life. Depression causes mental grief with sometimes devastating consequences for relationships with family and friends.
The aim of the 2017 World Health Day campaign is for people with depression, in all countries to seek and get help. Talking about depression, whether with a family member, friend, medical professional, at school, the workplace, in the public domain, social media, blogs and the news, helps to break down the stigma attached to mental illness and can lead more people to seek help.
- 3 million Australians are living with depression or anxiety.
- On average in Australia, 1 in 5 women and 1 in 8 men will experience some level of depression at some stage in their life.
- Only 35% of Australians with anxiety and depression access treatment.
- The proportion of the global population with depression in 2015 is estimated to be 4.4%.
- The total number of people living with depression in the world is 322 million. The total estimated number of people living with depression increased by 18.4% between 2005 and 2015.
- At worst, depression can lead to suicide – in 2015, it is estimated that 788 000 people died due to suicide.
- Suicide accounted for close to 1.5% of all deaths worldwide, bringing it into the top 20 leading causes of death in 2015.
- Suicide was the second leading cause of death among 15-29 year olds globally in 2015.
If you are feeling down, or think you may be depressed, WHO recommends that you:
- Talk to someone you trust about your feelings
- Seek professional help such as a local health care worker or doctor
- Keep up with activities that you have always enjoyed
- Stay connected with family and friends
- Eat at regular intervals and get enough sleep
- Exercise regularly if you can, even if it’s just a short walk
- Avoid or restrict alcohol intake and only take medicine as prescribed
Here are some tips from WHO if you know of someone living with depression:
- Encourage them to seek professional health and accompany them to appointments
- If medication is prescribed, help them take it as prescribed
- Help them with everyday tasks and maintain regular eating and sleeping patterns
- Encourage regular exercise and social activities
- Encourage them to focus on the positive rather than the negative
- If they are thinking about self-harm or have already intentionally harmed themselves, do not leave them alone. Seek further help from emergency services.
- Take care of yourself too. Find ways to relax and continue to do the things you enjoy.
The Arche Health InFocus® Counselling Program provides support for people suffering with mental illness. Talk to your GP about our InFocus Counselling Program or call 9458 0505 or email email@example.com to find out how we can help.