World Health Day, celebrated on 7 April every year to mark the anniversary of the founding of the World Health Organization, provides us with a unique opportunity to mobilize action around a specific health topic of concern to people all over the world. The theme of our 2017 World Health Day campaign is depression. Depression affects people of all ages, from all walks of life, in all countries. It causes mental anguish and impacts on people’s ability to carry out even the simplest everyday tasks, with sometimes devastating consequences for relationships with family and friends and the ability to earn a living. At worst, depression can lead to suicide,

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WHO estimates more than 300 million people are now living with depression, an increase of more than 18% between 2005 and 2015.

Yet, depression can be prevented and treated. A better understanding of what depression is, and how it can be prevented and treated, will help reduce the stigma associated with the condition, and lead to more people seeking help. The overall goal of this one-year campaign, beginning on 10 October 2016, World Mental Health Day, is that more people with depression, in all countries, seek and get help.

If you are reading this campaign guide, you are probably interested in getting involved in the campaign. Whether you work for the government, a nongovernmental organization or a media outlet, whether you are a doctor, teacher, journalist, blogger, parent or simply someone who has heard about the campaign and would like to get involved, this guide is for you.

Objectives

∙ the general public is better informed about depression, its causes and possible consequences, including suicide, and what help is or can be available for prevention and treatment;

∙ people with depression seek help; and

∙ family, friends and colleagues of people living with depression are able to provide support.


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What is depression?

Depression is an illness characterized by persistent sadness and a loss of interest in activities that you normally enjoy, accompanied by an inability to carry out daily activities, for at least two weeks. In addition, people with depression normally have several of the following symptoms:

∙ a loss of energy;

 ∙ a change in appetite;

∙ sleeping more or less;

∙ anxiety;

∙ reduced concentration;

∙ indecisiveness;

∙ restlessness;

∙ feelings of worthlessness, guilt, or hopelessness; and

∙ thoughts of self-harm or suicide.

The campaign core

At the core of the campaign is the importance of talking about depression as a vital component of recovery.

The stigma surrounding mental illness, including depression, remains a barrier to people seeking help throughout the world.

Talking about depression, whether with a family member, friend or medical professional; in larger groups, for example in schools, the workplace and social settings; or in the public domain, in the news media, blogs or on social media, helps break down this stigma, ultimately leading to more people seeking help.

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Who we are targeting

Depression can affect anyone. So this campaign is for everyone, whatever your age, sex, or social status. World Health Organization, has chosen to pay particular attention to three groups that are disproportionally affected: adolescents and young adults, women of childbearing age (particularly following childbirth), and older adults (over 60s).

Overarching messages

∙ Depression is a common mental disorder that affects people of all ages, from all walks of life, in all countries.

∙ The risk of becoming depressed is increased by poverty, unemployment, life events such as the death of a loved one or a relationship break-up, physical illness and problems caused by alcohol and drug use.

∙ Depression causes mental anguish and can impact on people’s ability to carry out even the simplest everyday tasks, with sometimes devastating consequences for relationships with family and friends.

∙ Untreated depression can prevent people from working and participating in family and community life.

∙ At worst, depression can lead to suicide.

∙ Depression can be effectively prevented and treated. Treatment usually involves either a talking therapy or antidepressant medication or a combination of these.

∙ Overcoming the stigma often associated with depression will lead to more people getting help.

∙ Talking with people you trust can be a first step towards recovery from depression.

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Situation in Macedonia

The number of hospital treated people from depressive episode and recurrent depressive disorder (F32 – F33), increases over the years. In 2010 the number of treated patients was 585 of which 196 men and 389 women, and in 2015 the total number of patients reached 803, of which 257 men and 546 women. It represents an increase of hospital treatment by 37 percent. The rate of hospital morbidity is 4/ 10 000 inhabitants in 2015.

Source: WHO