Depression: Let’s talk
This month, WHO launched a one-year campaign Depression: let’s talk. The goal of the campaign is that more people with depression, in all countries, seek and get help.
Depression is an illness that can happen to anybody. It causes mental anguish and affects people’s ability to carry out everyday tasks, with sometimes devastating consequences for relationships with family and friends. At worst, depression can lead to suicide. Fortunately depression can be prevented and treated. A better understanding of what depression is, and how it can be prevented and treated, will help reduce the stigma associated with the condition, and lead to more people seeking help.
Depression is a common mental disorder that affects people of all ages, from all walks of life, in all countries.
Overcoming the stigma often associated with depression will lead to more people getting help.
Talking with people you trust can be a first step towards recovery from depression.
Perhaps you are suffering from depression or know someone who is. Here are ways you can get involved:
Posters – WHO has developed a set of posters and handouts to get the campaign started. The posters can be downloaded here
Handouts – WHO has handouts which provide information on depression to increase our understanding of the condition and how it can be prevented and treated. The handouts can be downloaded here
Organize an activity – According to WHO, organizing an activity or event is a great way to raise awareness about depression and stimulate action, both among individuals, and on a wider scale. The organization recommends that if you decide to organize an event, to keep the following in mind:
- What are you trying to achieve?
- Who are you targeting?
- What would make your target audiences want to participate?
- When and where will your activity be held?
- Should you join up with other organizations?
- Who will you invite? Are there any well-known figures who could help you achieve your goals?
- Do you have the resources to achieve your goals? If not, how can you mobilize them?
- How will you promote your event?
- Can the media help you achieve your goals? If so, which media should you target?
- How will you share information about your activities after the event?
- How will you measure success?
WHO offers other examples of activities that you may want to consider such as: discussion forums, sporting events, workshops for journalists, art competitions, coffee mornings, concerts, sponsored activities ̶ anything that contributes to a better understanding of depression and how it can be prevented and treated.
Share information and materials on social media – Throughout the campaign WHO will be communicating via our social media channels Facebook https://www.facebook.com/WHO/, Twitter https://twitter.com/who @WHO, YouTube https://www.youtube.com/c/who and Instagram @worldhealthorganization
The primary hashtag that /WHO is using for the campaign is #LetsTalk but look out for posts using #depression and #mentalhealth as well.
You are encouraged to share WHO’s posts with your own networks, share your own materials and join discussions on issues related to the campaign.
Information about depression
If you are organizing an activity, or developing your own campaign materials, here are some facts and figures that you might want to use:
- Common mental disorders are increasing worldwide. Between 1990 and 2013, the number of people suffering from depression and/or anxiety increased by nearly 50%. Close to 10% of the world’s population is affected by one or both of these conditions. Depression alone accounts for 10% of years lived with disability globally.
- In humanitarian emergencies and ongoing conflict, as many as 1 in 5 people are affected by depression and anxiety.
- Depression increases the risk of other noncommunicable diseases, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. In addition, diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease increase the risk of depression.
- Depression in women following childbirth can affect the development of new-borns.
- In many countries of the world, there is no, or very little, support available for people with mental health disorders. Even in high-income countries, nearly 50% of people with depression do not get treatment.
- Lack of treatment for common mental disorders has a high economic cost: new evidence from a study led by WHO shows that depression and anxiety disorders alone cost more than a trillion dollars’ worth of economic loss every year.
- The most common mental health disorders can be prevented and treated, at relatively low cost (WHO).
It’s hard to imagine that there are people out there who are suffering with depression but are hiding it. They are putting up a brave front while they are hurting inside. No one can see the sadness behind their smiles. We must provide the atmosphere where people suffering from depression will feel safe and comfortable talking about their struggles. Depression should be talked about and often. Talking and just letting it all out can be therapeutic and can lead to early recovery.