Every year on the 7th of April we celebrate the World Health Day and the theme of this year is DEPRESSION: LETS TALK. Depression is more than just a low mood – it’s a serious mental health condition (mental illness) that has an impact on both physical and mental health.Possible causes include a combination of biological, psychological and social sources of distress. Increasingly, research suggests that these factors may cause problems in brain function, including abnormal activity of certain neural circuits in the brain. People with depression normally have several of the following symptoms:
a loss of energy;
a change in appetite;
sleeping more or less;
feelings of worthlessness, guilt, or hopelessness; and
thoughts of self-harm or suicide
Depression is the leading cause of ill health and disability worldwide. According to the latest estimates from WHO, more than 300 million people are now living with depression, an increase of more than 18% between 2005 and 2015. Lack of support for people with mental disorders, coupled with a fear of stigma, prevent many from accessing the treatment they need to live healthy, productive lives.
The persistent feeling of sadness or loss of interest that characterizes major depression can lead to a range of behavioral and physical symptoms. These may include changes in sleep, appetite, energy level, concentration, daily behavior or self-esteem. Depression can also be associated with thoughts of suicide. The risk of becoming depressed is increased by poverty, unemployment, life events such as the death of a loved one or a relationship break-up, physical illness and problems caused by alcohol and drug use.
Depression and stigma
Despite its prevalence in our society, clinical depression remains a taboo topic of discussion for many people and a widely stigmatized illness in general. Which is a bit shocking, considering that depression is the most common mental illness yet despite all this, many people still try to pretend that depression doesn’t exist, or that a depressed person can be “talked out of it.” Always remember stigmatizing depression is ignorant, if you choose to stigmatize depression, it’s probably because you haven’t taken the time to educate yourself no one chooses to have an illness. Studies have shown that fear of judgement deters people from seeking professional help for their depression.
What can one do to feel better?
When you’re depressed, it can feel like there’s no light at the end of the tunnel. But there are many things you can do to lift and stabilize your mood.
- Reach out to other people
- Get physically active
- Eat a mood boosting diet
- Find ways to engage again with the world
- Seek professional help