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, CNS, RN, is a Fellow of the Australasian Society of Lifestyle Medicine. She focused her master of healthcare leadership research project on health coaching for long-term weight loss in obese adults. In recent years, Madeline has found a passion for preventative nursing, transitioning from leadership roles (CNS Gerontology & Education, Clinical Facilitator) in hospital settings to primary healthcare nursing. Madeline’s vision is to implement lifestyle medicine to prevent and treat chronic conditions. Her brief research proposal for her PhD application involves Lifestyle Medicine for Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. Madeline is working towards Credentialled Diabetes Educator (CDE) status and primarily works in the role of Head of Nursing. Madeline’s philosophy focuses on using humanistic management, adult learning theories/evidence and self-efficacy theories and interventions to promote positive learning environments. In addition to her Master of Healthcare Leadership, Madeline has a Graduate Certificate in Diabetes Education & Management, Graduate Certificate in Adult & Vocational Education, Graduate Certificate of Aged Care Nursing, and a Bachelor of Nursing. See Educator Profile