World Health Day, celebrated on the 7th of April every year, marks the anniversary of the founding of the World Health Organization. World Health Day provides WHO with the opportunity to mobilize action around a specific health topic of concern to people all over the world. The theme of the 2017 World Health Day campaign is depression.
The goal of WHO’s year-long campaign, Depression: Let’s Talk, culminating on World Health Day, “…is for more people with depression, everywhere in the world, both seek and get help.”
Depression affects people of all ages, from all walks of life, in all countries. 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.
WHO has identified strong links between depression and other noncommunicable disorders and diseases. Depression increases the risk of substance use disorders and diseases such as diabetes and heart disease; the opposite is also true, meaning that people with these other conditions have a higher risk of depression. Depression is also an important risk factor for suicide.
WHO has various handouts addressing depression on their website. Each handout is being produced in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish.
The National Institute of Mental Health has additional information on depression for healthcare professionals and the general public.