World Health Day 2017 – Depression: Let’s talk

Health

The World Health Day is a global health awareness day celebrated every year on 7th April, under the sponsorship of the World Health Organisation (WHO). The theme for 2017 is Depression: Let’s talk.

Depression tops list of causes of ill health

Depression is the leading cause of ill health and disability worldwide. According to the latest estimates from WHO, more than 300 million people are now living with depression, an increase of more than 18% between 2005 and 2015. Lack of support for people with mental disorders, coupled with a fear of stigma, prevent many from accessing the treatment they need to live healthy, productive lives.

Depression is an illness that can happen to anybody. It causes mental anguish and affects people’s ability to carry out everyday tasks, with sometimes devastating consequences for relationships with family and friends. At worst, depression can lead to suicide. Fortunately, depression can be prevented and treated. Today, on World Mental Health Day, WHO is launching a one-year campaign: Depression: let’s talk.

Campaign at a glance

World Health Day provides a unique opportunity to mobilize action around a specific health topic of concern to people all over the world.

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.

How you can get involved

Organize an activity

Organizing an activity or event is a great way to raise awareness about depression and stimulate action, both among individuals, and on a wider scale. If you do decide to organize an event, keep in mind the following:

  • What are you trying to achieve?
  • Who are you targeting?
  • What would make your target audiences want to participate?
  • When and where will your activity be held?
  • Should you join up with other organizations?
  • Who will you invite? Are there any well-known figures who could help you achieve your goals?
  • Do you have the resources to achieve your goals? If not, how can you mobilize them?
  • How will you promote your event?
  • Can the media help you achieve your goals? If so, which media should you target?
  • How will you share information about your activities after the event?
  • How will you measure success?

Examples of activities that you might want to consider are: discussion forums, sporting events, workshops for journalists, art competitions, coffee mornings, concerts, sponsored activities ̶ anything that contributes to a better understanding of depression and how it can be prevented and treated.

Think about involving your organization’s champions, especially if they are influential among those you are trying to reach.

While this is a one-year campaign, and as such, activities can be organized throughout the year, we encourage you to consider hosting activities on World Health Day, 7 April 2017. Media attention is high on this day, which can generate greater awareness.