Depression: World Health Day 7 April
Published: 06 April 2017
Published: 06 April 2017
A key issue being raised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) is depression (2017a).
WHO explains that there has been an 18% increase in the amount of people living with depression from 2005 to 2015. This condition is the largest contributor to disability in the world and about 80% of depression’s burden is in low and middle income nations (2017a).
Depression is preventable and treatable and WHO’s Depression: Let’s Talk campaign will be running for one year following October 10th, 2016 (which was World Mental Health Day).
As a health professional, you are likely well-aware of the range of negative impacts that depression can have upon people of all ages, and their loved ones. But, did you know that, unfortunately, suicide is the second leading cause of death for people aged 15 to 29 years of age? (WHO 2017b)
Some of the aims of the Depression: Let’s Talk campaign are to create better public awareness of depression and its signs, as well as where to seek help, and helping to provide support for families and friends (WHO 2017b).
One of the global barriers to people seeking help is the stigma surrounding depression and mental illness. WHO’s focus is on ‘three groups that are disproportionally affected: adolescents and young adults, women of childbearing age (particularly following childbirth), and older adults (over 60s)’ (2017b).
You can head to www.who.Int/depression/en to access WHO’s Depression: Let’s Talk campaign materials. This may be useful for promoting health in your workplace or community settings. There are handouts covering various topics, such as ‘worried that your child is depressed?’ or ‘staying positive and preventing depression as you get older’ (WHO 2017b). WHO encourages you to:
‘…think about where campaign materials can be made available to reach people for whom they are intended. A few ideas are: health-care centres, doctors’ surgeries, clinics, hospitals, schools, colleges and universities, supermarkets, leisure and social clubs, associations, places of work, places of worship, and public transport.’
A different global concern at the moment is cancer, which reportedly leads to 8.2 million fatalities each year (CDC 2017).
Over half of the cases of cancer globally are in places with limited resources (CDC 2017). New cancer cases are expected to increase by a massive 70% globally, in the next 20 years (CDC 2017). Cancer surveillance across the world is uneven, fluctuating from almost 100% of the population being covered by registries in North America, to just 2% in Africa (CDC 2017).
‘The global burden of cancer continues to increase largely because of the ageing and growth of the world population alongside an increasing adoption of cancer-causing behaviours, particularly smoking, in economically developing countries.’
(Jemal et al, 2011).
In 2011, Jemal et al. reported that for women, breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer and main source of cancer deaths for women. Further research appears needed for various major cancers, such as colorectal and that of the prostate (2011). Health professionals could help to reduce the global cancer burden via promoting healthy eating, physical activity, no tobacco smoking, and liver and cervical cancer vaccinations.
WHO’s global factsheet reports the following interesting points:
There are plenty of aspects of health that we need to be aware of as health professionals and global citizens. But, before this article concludes, consider a few great achievements:
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Madeline Gilkes focused the research project for her master's of healthcare leadership on health coaching for long-term weight loss in obese adults. Madeline is also a qualified weight management practitioner and Registered Nurse. Her vision is to prevent lifestyle diseases, obesogenic environments, dementia, and metabolic syndrome. She has a master of healthcare leadership, a graduate certificate in aged care, and a bachelor of nursing. Madeline works as an academic and has spent the past years in the role of clinical facilitator and clinical nurse specialist (gerontology & education). She is due to complete her Graduate Certificate in Adult and Vocational Education at CSU before November 2018. See Educator Profile