Published: Sat, April 08, 2017
Medicine | By Daryl Nelson

Mental Health Group calls for improved support networks, awareness on mental health

Mental Health Group calls for improved support networks, awareness on mental health

The World Health Day, which falls on April 7, had Depression as its theme this year.

"The continuing stigma associated with mental illness was the reason why we chose to name our campaign Depression: Let's talk", she said.

According to the global health organization, all individuals are at risk of depression because it affects people of all ages, from all walks of life. Depression is an illness in which people feel overwhelming sadness, lose interest in activities they enjoy, and find it hard to carry out daily tasks.

Saxena says treatment usually involves psychotherapy, antidepressant medication or a combination of both.

The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), on Friday in Lokoja said over 90 per cent of suicide cases reported in the country were traceable to depression.

"We strongly support the World Health Organization campaign "Depression: let's Talk" as it highlights the dual message that talking is a first step to getting help, and that talking about your difficulties can help overcome them".

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Currently, more than 300 million people around the world are living with depression, an increase of more than 18% between 2005 and 2015.

In India, about 56 million people suffer from depression, which makes for 4.5 per cent of the population, while another 38 million of Indian population suffer from other anxiety related disorders. Even where services are available, stigma prevents many people from accessing them.

The regional director said depression varied by age, peaking in older adults aged 55 to 74 years but also occurring in children and adolescents. The U.N. agency is urging people to seek treatment for depression, which can lead to disability and even death.

The WHO defines health as "a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity". The report surveys worldwide mental health and points to mental health issues as a serious public health threat. For instance in Sri Lanka we regularly or irresponsibly use the word "Pissa" (mad person) and are shy of any reference to Angoda because the National Institute of Mental Health is situated there.

Yim Sobotra, the head of mental health and substance abuse at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital, said a person with depression can be identified by symptoms such as loss of interest or pleasure in life, decreased energy, feelings of guilt or worthlessness, hopelessness, insomnia and a lack of appetite. Too many people view mental illness as a sign of personal weakness, and as something to be ashamed of.

The theme for this year is Depression: Let's talk.

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