#LetsTalk: Discussing Depression on World Health Day

Did you know that over 300 million people around the world are estimated to suffer from depression?

No? Well you’re not alone. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), there’s been an 18% increase in the number of people with depression since 2005, yet many people still don’t realise just how widespread this disorder is. Whether it’s a family member, colleague or person you pass on the street, depression deeply affects both individual people and their communities.

The Domino Effect

Depression is a heavy hitter. It can take a toll on you, your social circle, and have an economic impact, as noted in a recent report from the World Bank and WHO. Popular publications like TeenVogue and the DailyMail, as well as scholarly publications are bringing to light how pervasive depression is, and particularly how it relates to the modern realities of social media use.

Depression especially affects people aged 15–29, and women. Studies in both the UK and America indicate that although many young people experience stress from school, young women are particularly vulnerable to depression, possibly stoked by heavy reliance on social media. Social media can contribute to pressures surrounding body image and social status, or invite online bullying.

Since depression is so common and tends to carry a stigma, one of the best solutions is to talk about it. Doing so has a positive domino effect on an ever-widening circle including affected people, their families, employers, and countries. Talking brings relief, opens doors to solutions, and helps chip away at the stigma of this very common mood disorder. To that effect, the WHO named its April 7th, 2017 World Health Day campaign, #Letstalk, to bring depression further into common discourse and ultimately get more treatment for those in need. Some practical tips for coping with depression include:

  • Recognising the signs in yourself and others
  • Listening well to others, even when you can’t provide an answer
  • Seeking supportive resources when needed, knowing you are not alone
  • Exploring available treatments, seeing them as tools rather than as a stigma

Reasons to Hope and Keep Up the Conversation

The good news: depression can be treated and more people are talking about it online, which is a start. Counselling or psychotherapy with a professional and antidepressant medication usually play a role in treatment. Remember that no one is alone in this and there is no reason to feel shame in seeking help. Some international regions including the UK provide support groups which can generate beneficial social connections. But even in high-income countries only 50% of affected people get treated, and most governments only dedicate 3% of health funding to mental health programs. So clearly there’s more work to be done in terms of both awareness and resource dedication. We at Ada hope to play a part in helping to identify depression early on, so that more people will acknowledge the condition and seek the care they deserve.

Finding the right treatment is key to giving you or loved ones the tools to cope and lead a happier, healthier life. Ada Health joins the WHO’s #Letstalk Campaign in spreading awareness of this common condition and promoting more wellness worldwide. Hopefully this paves the way for more solutions to an issue affecting a growing number of people.