Friday, April 7, 2017

Let’s talk

Today is World Health Day, a day celebrated on April 7 each year to commemorate the founding of the World Health Organization. Each year a theme is designated to highlight a global health concern in hopes of increasing awareness and encouraging those who are suffering to seek help. This year’s theme is Depression: Let’s Talk. “For someone living with depression, talking to a person they trust is often the first step towards treatment and recovery,” said Dr. Shekhar Saxena, Director of the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse at WHO.

It’s interesting because in many cases one of the last things a person suffering with depression wants to do is talk about it. Why? They don’t want to hear how it’s all in their head and that they should just “suck it up”, snap out of it and move on. Depressed people can’t control how they feel. They don’t want to hear that they are just exaggerating issues or trying to seek attention. Wrong. People with depression have no desire to be in the spotlight. If they do speak about it, they just need people to listen and not judge; too often the case. Depressed people don’t like to talk about it because it makes people uncomfortable. As one article stated, when someone breaks their arm, we rush to sign their cast but if someone is diagnosed with depression, we run the other way. As far as we have come in so many ways, the stigma still exists.

Depression affects people of all ages, from all walks of life, in all countries; possibly even the person sitting next to you at work. It causes anguish and makes it hard to carry out even the simplest everyday tasks. The consequences can be devastating. Depression has strong links to diseases like diabetes and heart disease, and increases the risk of substance abuse. It’s also an important risk factor in suicide. Depression affects more than 300 million people. That’s an increase of 18 percent between 2005 and 2015.

The good news is that depression can be prevented and treated. A better understanding of the disease is much needed.

Let’s talk.

Posted by MJ Thomas

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