Every year on April 7th, World Health Day is celebrated in countries across the globe. This annual event aims to raise awareness and get organisations and individuals involved in fund-raising for a different health concern each year.

Previous World Heath Days have focused on serious issues such as blood pressure, malaria and diabetes- to name just a few. However, it’s crucial that we’re all aware that mental wellbeing is just as important as physical health. When we are in control of our mental health we are better able to cope with stress, to work more productively and enjoy our daily lives to the fullest. This is why the theme of World Health Day 2017 is ‘Let’s Talk to Beat Depression’.

The goal of this year’s campaign is to encourage people suffering from depression in countries around the world to start speaking out about what they are going through so they can get the help they need. All of the promotional campaigns, events and funds raised during World Health Day 2017 will aim to make the worldwide public more informed about depression along with its causes, triggers and treatments. It also aims to persuade people with depression to get help and encourage friends and family to provide essential support too.


What is Depression?

Depression is much more than just feeling down in the dumps. This is a clinical condition which can affect people of all ages, nationalities and walks of life. The mental anguish caused by depression can be crippling and prevent people from completing seemingly simple everyday tasks.

When depression goes untreated it can have a serious impact on a person’s ability to work, their physical health and their relationships with friends and family. At its most severe, depression can lead to suicide, which is now the second most common cause of death in young people aged 15 to 19.

Some of the common symptoms of depression include:

  • Fatigue or loss of energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Impaired concentration and coordination
  • Disturbed sleeping pattern (i.e., inability to sleep or excessive sleeping)
  • Lack of interest or pleasure in activities
  • Recurring thoughts of death or suicide
  • A sense of restlessness
  • Significant weight loss or weight gain

Statistics show that round 50% of cases of depression are going untreated. This is why it is so important that World Health Day 2017 tackles this issue and targets the high proportion of those who are suffering in silence around the world.


Let’s Talk

Depression can cause a feeling of despair that gives sufferers the false impression that there is no hope for them, however, it can be prevented and treated with the help of healthcare professionals. The first challenge for people with depression to overcome is making the first step to discuss their condition- which is why the World Health Day 2017 campaign is called ‘Let’s Talk’.

Although it can be difficult to open up and talk about depression, it will be hugely beneficial in the long-run. Holding it in will eventually lead to isolation, but here are some of the ways that talking to someone can help:

Get perspective

Depression can cause people to feel worthless, isolated and can impact self-esteem. Talking to someone will help sufferers gain some perspective on how they are feeling and get control of the destructive thoughts they are experiencing.

Ease loneliness

Finally speaking to someone, whether it’s a medical professional or a trusted loved one, will help battle the feelings of isolation and loneliness that come with bottling up feelings of depression.

Find a Way Forward

Depression clouds judgement and self esteem, so the only way to really start getting the necessary help and find a way out of depression is to talk to someone. After taking this step, those suffering from depression can start working out a strategy to tackle the condition.

Build a Support Network

It is essential to have a network of support around while working through depression. This can include friends, family members and healthcare providers. Talking to trusted people is a great way to begin building this network of support.


Who to Talk to in Your Area

If you suspect that you or someone you know is suffering from depression, World Health Day 2017 is the perfect time to get educated, learn more about the condition and- most importantly- start talking.

If you’re based in the Richmond area, there are a number of ways to get help. As well as speaking to your GP, you may wish to get in contact with the Richmond Wellbeing Service. This Richmond-based resource provides patients with free access to confidential services such as Talking Therapies, one-on-one support, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, seminars and courses. Your GP may refer you to the Richmond Wellbeing Service or you could spend 10-20 minutes filling out the self-referral form.