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Depression: A global crisis - World Mental Health Day - 10 October 2012
by IAPO at 4:41PM Thursday 08 November 2012 (News)
10 October was World Mental Health Day (WMHD), with activities taking place across the globe to mark this important event. This month, Yoram Cohen, Vice-President of the Global Alliance of Mental Illness Advocacy Networks (GAMIAN) and Board Member of World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH), shares more information about mental health and WMHD:

"World Mental Health Day was initiated by the World Federation for Mental Health in 1992. Since then, the day has been adopted by many countries as a means of promoting mental health.

Every year a theme is chosen and educational materials are produced by WFMH for distribution. This year, the 20th anniversary, we chose Depression as the main theme. Depression can affect anyone and it is one of the most widespread illnesses, often co–existing with other serious illnesses. According to the World Health Organization, unipolar depressive disorders were ranked as the third leading cause of the global burden of disease in 2004 and will move into first place by 2030.

WMHD 2012 aims to encourage governments and civil society around the world to address depression as a widespread illness that affects individuals, their families and their peers, and to recognize that it is a treatable condition. People should be alert to the early signs of depressive disorder- it can affect anyone, from young people to seniors. It is now estimated that 350 million people globally are affected by depression, and this alarming figure is a wakeup call for us to address this global non-communicable disease.

What is depression?
Depression is a common mental disorder that presents with depressed mood, loss of interest or pleasure, decreased energy, feelings of guilt or low self-worth, disturbed sleep or appetite, and poor concentration. Moreover, depression often comes with symptoms of anxiety. These problems can become chronic or recurrent and lead to substantial impairments in an individual's ability to take care of his or her everyday responsibilities. At its worst, depression can lead to suicide. Almost 1 million lives are lost yearly due to suicide, which translates to 3,000 suicide deaths every day. For every person who commits suicide, 20 or more may attempt to end his or her life.

Unlike many large-scale international problems, a solution of depression is at hand. Efficacious and cost-effective treatments are available to improve the health and the lives of the millions of people around the world suffering from depression. On an individual, community, and national level, it is time to educate ourselves about depression and support those who are suffering from the mental disorder.

World Mental Health Day 2012
One of the annual goals of WMHD is to encourage and promote informed advocacy and action for the improvement of services to those with mental health issues and to prevent mental health disorders.

This year's WMHD provides us with an opportunity to think about the practical things that we can do. Doing nothing – is not an option!"


Read more about WMHD and depression

Find out more about GAMIAN

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