Ministry of Health leading depression awareness campaign

by: Dominica Vibes News - April 20, 2017
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Young man with hands clasped together (Photo credit: Numina Counselling)

The Ministry of Health and the Environment is leading a campaign aimed at getting people who suffer from depression, to seek and get help.

This campaign follows the observance of World Health Day on 7 April 2017 under the theme ‘Depression: Let’s Talk’ as part of a year-long campaign by the World Health Organization (WHO).

According to the American Psychiatric Association, depression is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think, and how you act.

Depression, which is treatable, causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities once enjoyed. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and can decrease a person’s ability to function at work and at home.

Health Educator Trisha Scotland, who was a guest on Vibes Radio’s Sunny Side Up program on Wednesday 19 April 2017, noted that the most important part of the campaign is to get people to talk about depression, because there is a stigma and fear associated with being depressed and even seeking help for depression.

Depression symptoms can vary from mild to severe and can include: Feeling sad or having a depressed mood, Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed, Changes in appetite, Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much, Loss of energy or increased fatigue, Difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions and Thoughts of death or suicide.

Scotland stated that depression, which is a as a public health concern, is now on the rise, and has the potential to become a major health issue because it affects people from all walks of life.

The American Psychiatric Association’s statistics indicates that depression affects an estimated one in 15 adults (6.7%) in any given year. And one in six people (16.6%) will experience depression at some time in their life. Depression can strike at any time, but on average, first appears during the late teens to mid-20s. Women are more likely than men to experience depression.

“According to the most recent statistics from the WHO, we have three hundred million people worldwide who suffer from depression. This is showing you how big of a problem this is. It also shows that based on the figure that was collected, that there was actually an increase of eighteen percent from 2005 to 2015 which was just two years ago,” Scotland stated.

Although depression is treatable, Scotland informed that many people are afraid to seek help.

She noted that people from all age groups suffer from depression depending on their situations, including post-partum mothers, retired elderly persons, and teenagers who are suicidal based on certain circumstances.

“I just want to make a call to action in terms of depression, because a lot of people, they might experience extreme sadness, but they might have a fear in terms of going to get the help that they need,” she further stated.