Depression is the leading cause of health problems and disability worldwide. According to the latest estimates of the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 300 million people live with this disease, an increase of more than 18% between 2005 and 2015 and it expresses,“The lack of support for people with mental disorders, together with the fear of stigma, they prevent many from accessing the treatment they need to live healthy and productive lives”.
The new estimates have been published as a preview before World Health Day on April 7, the high point of the WHO's annual campaign Depression: Let's talk. The general objective of the campaign is that more and more people with depression, all over the world, seek and obtain help.
Dr. Margaret Chan, Director-General of WHO, believes that these figures mean "a wake-up call to all countries to reconsider their approaches to mental health and treat it with the urgency it deserves."
Prejudice and discrimination are one of the barriers to seeking treatment. "The continuing stigma associated with mental illness was the reason why we decided to name our campaign Depression: let's talk," says the director of the WHO Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, Shekhar Saxena.
To elaborate on this topic, we have already discussed What We Understand by Depression in Contemporary Context.
The truth is that we have all felt sadness for some reason. Death of a loved one, rupture of a relationship, unemployment, etc., but when that sadness is prolonged and there is nothing that helps us to remedy it, we can fall into a depressive state.
Depression has been increasing significantly in recent decades. It affects women more than men and has become a public health problem. Around 350 million people suffer from depression in the world.
Despite the challenges that the disease poses and the strategies to carry information about its consequences, there is still ignorance about it. On the other hand, many people who have depression refuse to accept it. Hence the difficulties in managing it.
Its impact is such that it is considered as the second disease that generates disability in the world. This is related both to the paralysis of skills, and to the hours a person stops working because of depression. It is also the cause of 800,000 suicides each year.
Causes for the increase in depression
It is common for many people with depression to be unaware that they have this disease. There are adequate treatments, but they do not reach the majority of those who need them. Sometimes, there are no qualified health professionals to diagnose it in time. Therefore, one of the factors for the increase in depression may be the lack of efficiency in health institutions.
On the other hand, the uncertainty has gripped modern cultures. Everything happens at an overwhelming pace. Therefore, what yesterday was a truth, may not be valid today. That uncertainty makes us more insecure. It leads to relativizing the medium and long-term plans also to experience fear as part of an unpredictable reality.
At the same time, the ideals of success have become increasingly demanding. Before it was enough that you were a decent citizen and that, little by little, you were advancing your goals. Now you have to meet thousands of requirements to achieve social success. Apparently today we are more free and autonomous, but deep down, the parameters of the "ideal of being" have become much more severe.
How to know if you suffer from depression?
The melancholy, sadness, fear, frustration, among others, are states of mind that anyone can go through. They are necessary, in addition, to grow, learn and mature. The hard experiences that are faced every day can strengthen. However, if such states become permanent, it is very likely to fall into depression.
From there it is possible that there is a neglect of personal aspects, especially health. Relations with others are affected. Nothing matters now and there is a tendency to confinement, isolation, not sharing with anyone, including the family. This is linked to increasing difficulties in sleeping.
Negative emotions (loneliness, anguish, fear, for example) occur more frequently and it is almost impossible to get out of them. The same as that feeling of emptiness, hopelessness, and anxiety. The depressed person moves away from activities that generate pleasure. Existence becomes a martyrdom.
Thoughts related to death are another symptom of depression. The idea of suicide is very recurrent. Self-destructive behaviours appear. Among them, drink too much alcohol, neglect your hygiene, stop setting goals, etc.
Depression feeds on loneliness
If you feel bad for some reason, seek help. Talking with someone you trust is a great support. That way you get rid of that anguish that you have inside. Remember that there are professionals to whom you can also go. If you visit a psychologist or a psychiatrist does not mean you are wrong. They will simply guide you to find the reasons for your sadness and prevent you from falling into depression.
Above all, think that depression feeds on loneliness. Rest assured that there will always be someone willing to understand what happens to you;To listen to you with attention; To be interested in you. It is a matter of opening your heart and understanding that being alone in those moments is not a good decision, no matter how much the body asks of you.
It is key that you resume your activities. If you liked to go for a walk, do it again. If you were passionate about playing soccer, look for your friends with whom you used to practice before. The idea is to leave your physical and emotional confinement. In that way, bad times will not give way to depression; On the contrary, they will become a learning for your growth.