World Health Day is held every year on April 7th for the anniversary of the founding of the World Health Organisation in 1948. Each year a public health theme is selected that highlights current priority. This year World Health Day focuses on depression.
Mental health is being talked about more these days and perhaps the stigma of old is starting to fade. Still, it can be difficult for people to talk openly about and for relatives and friends to offer the best support.
As a pharmacist, my opinion is that antidepressants are over-used although they do have a very important role where someone is clinically or severely depressed. Depression today is talked about in terms of being mild, moderate or severe. It used to be termed clinical or affective, which was useful to determine whether the depression was caused by life-events or so ingrained in the body chemicals that the whole system becomes affected.
The symptoms of depression are classed as biological ( body), psychological (mental) or social. It might be easier to spot the social affects such as someone withdrawing from social events or losing self-confidence. Other symptoms such as changes in appetite and sleep disturbance are harder to identify solely with depression.
Mental symptoms include worrying thoughts, foggy thinking, becoming irritable or emotional for little reason and at its worst suicidal thinking. Physically it can lead to substance misuse, diabetes and heart disease.
World Health Day 2017 spotlights that depression is the lead cause of ill health and disability worldwide, which is a worrying statistic and an 18% increase in 10 years from 2005. The goal of the campaign is to encourage more people with depression worldwide, to both seek and get help. Even in high-income countries, nearly 50% of people with depression are suffering in silence.
If you are suffering in silence or someone you know is please ask for help- it’s usually the first step to getting better. Antidepressants are not generally the first line for someone with mild depression – talking therapies are recommended. There are plenty of other agencies than your GP who can also help including Samaritans and Mind.
Counselling can also be accessed as a private service and if you’d like to know more please call us and ask for help from one of our friendly team.