DEPRESSION, THE SILENT KILLER

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Over 300 million people in the world suffer from depression. A silent disease, that wears interiorly, leading to self-exclusion or, in the most serious cases, to suicide. The World Health Organization (WHO) has dedicated the edition 2017 of the World Health Day, which will take place next April 7 to this disease.

A widespread disease

The alarm is not unjustified since depression has a greater impact than what one can think. The data provided by the same WHO are very worrying: the patients are about 322 million (equal to 4,4 % of the entire population of the globe). The disease caused nearly 800 thousand suicides in 2015, a percentage increased by 20% over the past ten years. It mainly affects women: 5.1% at world level, against 3.6% of men and constitutes the second cause of death among young people in the group age between 15 and 29 years. We are therefore in an unequivocal way in front of worrying and unacceptable data to which we must react with decision and with extreme urgency. The matter is very wide and still in the study phase, for the numerous and serious repercussions that it can create at mental and physical level; known since antiquity, able to affect anyone, at the moment we still do not know with certainty the arising causes.

Awareness

In recent years, there has been a gradual “acceptance” of the disease, accompanied by a lower reluctance on tackling it. This positive evolution involved both the patients, the medical environment, and the general public that become more sensitive and sympathetic, by restricting the tendency to exclusion that can affect the pathology. The estimates concerning the wide spreading and the intensity may still be mined, in fact, by a refusal of opening to a declaration of trouble.

Talking about it is the first cure

The slogan that accompanies the edition 2017 of the World Health Day is “Depression: let’s talk“. The WHO, indeed, wants to encourage dialog with the people involved in the approach step so that all mental barriers and prejudices that inhibit the care and assistance requested can be removed. Asking for help should not be, precisely, considered an act to be ashamed of. The chatters and polemics heared for years, concerning the phenomenon, must give way to true dialog and preventive communication.

Cases

The European site of WHO also cites positive examples to demonstrate how we can combat this disease. It refers of a campaign launched in 2008 in England through the National Health Service, called “Improving access to psychological therapies“, which concerned one million citizens. After 4 years, 680 thousand people have concluded the full cycle of treatment and, of these, a percentage above 45% has recovered, reflecting the optimistic previsions.

The battle can be won

The WHO has always supported the fact that eradicate this disease is possible and reiterates the need to work in this direction. The date of 7 April, must therefore constitute a unique opportunity to raise the awareness of the institutions, of the media and of the citizens towards this so relevant psychological pathology (often minimized or treated in a confused, partial and fragmented way), providing the necessary information material and in a broad-spectrum. Also for the depression, the real enemies are indifference, underestimation and silence.

The event

The World Health Day is celebrated on 7 April of each year. The date is not randomly chosen because the WHO – with its headquarters in Geneva and with 193 Member States – started its work on 7 April 1948. The objective of the UN agency is to promote the improvement of physical and mental health, of the entire world population. In 2016 the event was dedicated to diabetes, in 2015 to food safety.

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