WHO: 350 million people worldwide suffer from depression

On the eve of World Mental Health Day (Octoner 10), the World Health Organization (WHO) announced \that at least 350 million people worldwide suffer from depression.

"Depression is not a disease of people in developed countries, but is a worldwide phenomenon. This disease occurs in both sexes and between the poor and the rich," stressed the head of the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, Shekhar Saxena, during a press conference in Geneva, Switzerland.

According to a study supported by WHO, in the last year in any community, almost 5% of the residents have suffered from depression.

Shekhar Saxena expressed concern because many of the victims "do not recognize their illness and do not seek treatment."

The causes of depression can point to cardiovascular disease, economic pressures, unemployment, disasters or conflicts. In addition, one in five pregnant women have postpartum depression.

Saxena also revealed that depression is a persistent feeling of sadness that can last for two weeks or more and this can affect the patient's activities at school or at work. It can also be characterized by loss of interest or pleasure, feelings of guilt or low self-worth, disturbed sleep or appetite, feelings of tiredness, and poor concentration.  Depression in the worst case can lead to suicide.

According to the director of the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, about one million people commit suicide every year and nearly 50 percent of them do so as a result of depression.

Although there are known effective treatments for depression, access to treatment is a problem in most countries and in some countries fewer than 10% of those who need it receive such treatment.

Translated from the Spanish version and appended by:

Lisa Karpova

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Author`s name Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey