Preparations underway to Observe World Health Day – Depression: let’s talk.

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Minister of Health, Social Affairs and Labour Emil Lee

 

GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – World Health Day (WHD) is celebrated on the April 7 every year to mark the anniversary of the founding of the World Health Organization (WHO).

A specific health topic of concern to people all over the world is selected annually by the WHO, and for 2017, the theme is about depression under the slogan: ‘Depression: let’s talk.’

Every year Collective Prevention Services (CPS), a department within the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour (Ministry VSA), as part of its annual calendar of observances, highlights and creates awareness about health matters based on the WHO annual calendar.  CPS would like to draw the community’s attention to World Health Day 2017 and the theme that has been chosen as part of its contribution to creating awareness.

Depression is an illness characterized by persistent sadness and a loss of interest in activities that you normally enjoy, accompanied by an inability to carry out daily activities, for at least two weeks.

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 causes mental anguish and can impact on people’s ability to carry out even the simplest everyday tasks, with sometimes devastating consequences for relationships with family and friends.

Untreated depression can prevent people from working and participating in family and community life.

In addition, people with depression normally have several of the following symptoms: a loss of energy; a change in appetite; sleeping more or less; anxiety; reduced concentration; indecisiveness; restlessness; feelings of worthlessness, guilt, or hopelessness; and thoughts of self-harm or suicide.

Depression affects people of all ages, from all walks of life, in all countries. It causes mental anguish and impacts on people’s ability to carry out even the simplest everyday tasks, with sometimes devastating consequences for relationships with family and friends and the ability to earn a living.

At worst, depression can lead to suicide, now the second leading cause of death among 15-29-year-olds. Yet, 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 can be effectively prevented and treated. Treatment usually involves either a talking therapy or antidepressant medication or a combination of these.

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.