Oct 15, 2012 News
The World Health Organisation (WHO) predicts that by 2025, depression will be the most common disease that will surpass even heart disease, diabetes and cancer. It is estimated that around 350 million people worldwide are suffering from depression.
Some symptoms of depression include: sadness or unexplained crying; Difficulty of falling asleep and waking too early or late in the morning; apathy and fatigue; lack of interest in life; lack of interest in food or food over consumption; agitation or anger without reason; inability to make a decision; no longer able to face certain situations; feeling tired in certain times of the day mostly during the mornings; feelings of daunting; lack of self-confidence; avoid meeting others and preferring loneliness; lack of sexual appetite; and thoughts of harming yourself or suicide.
In the Caribbean and Latin America, depression affects five percent of the adult population.
“This is a disorder that can strike anyone at some point in their life, and for which they need to receive psychological and social care and support,” according to the PAHO/WHO Principal Adviser on Mental Health, Jorge Rodriguez.
According to Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), between 60 and 65 percent of ill people do not receive care. The lack of appropriate services; of trained health professionals, especially in primary care; and the social stigma associated with mental disorders are some of the barriers to access to appropriate care, in addition to the need for boosting capacity for the identification and early treatment of depression. In the region, it is calculated that less than two percent of the health budget is allocated to mental health, and of this, 67 percent is spent on mental hospitals.
Depression is more common in women than in men. Between two and four of every 10 mothers in developing countries suffer from depression during pregnancy or after childbirth.
This disease has a good prognosis if it is treated in time and appropriately. Depression can be mild, moderate, or severe, and is caused by a complex interaction of social, psychological, and biological factors.
However, “we must abandon the idea that all depression needs pharmaceutical treatment. Mild and even some moderate cases can be resolved, basically, with social and family support, brief psychotherapy, or other types of psychosocial interventions that can be provided by primary health care physicians or by community organizations that provide support for people,” explained Rodriguez.
Annually, the 10th October is the day designated by the World Health Organisation to raise awareness about mental health. The theme chosen for this year is ‘Depression: Global Crisis’.
The World Federation for Mental Health initiated World Mental Health Day in 1992, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2012.
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