Handwriting by Marisa Mangum
World Health Day is recognized annually on April 7, and it’s a day dedicated to raising awareness for global health. The World Health Organization has declared “Depression: Let’s Talk” as the official campaign for 2017’s World Health Day. The mission behind this campaign is to have individuals who are experiencing depression look for and receive the help that they may need.1
What is depression?
More than 300 million people around the world are suffering from depression2, a more than 18 percent increase from 2005 to 2015. Depression is a mental disorder and a condition in which one has feelings of hopelessness and discouragement and a lack of interest in life. Everyone encounters hardships and hard times in life in some shape or form, but when the negative feelings last for longer than two weeks and strongly affect daily activities and relationships, it’s possible that it’s a depressive episode.3 Depression has become the leading cause of disability throughout the world as cases increased by almost 20 percent in 10 years.4 There are various potential causes for depression, but it’s thought that a mix of biological, psychological, and social factors can lead to mental disorders like depression.5
What are the types of depression?
There are several different forms of depression. Persistent depressive disorder, or dysthymia, lasts for a minimum of two years and can consist of cases of major depression as well as cases when less severe symptoms are experienced. Seasonal affective disorder refers to winter depression, as there is less natural sunlight during this time of the year and the depression alleviates during the warmer, sunnier months.6 Major depressive disorder is the most prominent form of depression when the depressed mood lasts for longer than two weeks. Other types of depression include, but are not limited to, postpartum depression and psychotic depression.7
What are tips for overcoming depression?
Depression is a mental disorder that can be treated. Because depression is associated with negative feelings and a loss of interest and energy, it can be seen as hard to cope with recovery. But recovery can happen with steps in the right direction. Talk to trusted family members, friends, and mentors. Exercise or play one of your favorite sports on a regular basis. Sleep the recommended amount for your age every night. Practice meditation and yoga. Eat healthy, nutritious food and drink enough water. Recognize negative thoughts that may come across your mind and make a comeback with a positive thought in its place. Watch your favorite show, listen to an uplifting playlist, or read a good book. Write positive thoughts in a journal every day. Learn about how depression works and what you can do to combat it and rise above it — because you can.8
Hope and help are out there to assist individuals coping with depression. We encourage you to learn more about depression, to help individuals whom you know are suffering from depression, to seek help if you are experiencing depression, and to help destigmatize depression and mental health illnesses.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Crisis Text Line
Text HOME to 741741
National Alliance on Mental Illness