World Health Day is an international day, taking place on the 7th of April and has done so on the same day since 1995. The day has a different theme each year, focusing on the different aspects of mental and physical health - they have covered topics ranging from motherhood, to road safety, to diabetes. The 2017 theme is dealing with depression.
This year’s aim is to encourage people to speak up about their depression before it reaches the worst point. This is particularly important for teenagers, given that around twenty percent of the world’s teenage population deal with symptoms of depression - that’s roughly 160000000 teenagers, according to my calculations.
With that said, World Health Day this year does not just focus on teenagers, but on all people all of ages who may be dealing with depression, and also their families, friends and people around them who are also affected as a result of the disorder.
Over fifty percent of people who have taken their own life deal with depression, and that statistic alone is plenty enough to shock anyone into realising how truly devastating the results of dealing with it can be.
On top of encouraging people to speak up, this year’s aim is to also change how the world views the disorder - people who don’t deal with depression can easily blame someone’s condition on tiredness, laziness or hormones. If more people are made aware of the true consequences and symptoms of the disorder, it could make it easier for others to speak up.
So what can you do to support and spread the message about World Health Day this year?
a) www.childline.org.uk - 0800 1111 - the number and website address for a support hotline in the UK
b) http://www.suicide.org/international-suicide-hotlines.html - a list of websites for different countries and their suicide hotlines
3. Change the stigma - it’s easy for someone to call another with depression lazy or ‘just sad’. Chances are, it’s probably because they have no damned clue what it’s like, and maybe never will. Educating them on dealing with depression and how it truly feels is the first step to changing people’s warped views on it.
Bear in mind that awareness for depression needs to be spread all the time and not just on International Health Day, but it’s a day in which people will be purposefully aware, and therefore a good place to start.