The verdict is in: depression is now the number one cause of poor health and disability worldwide, according to the World Health Organization, currently affecting over 300 million people.
From 2005 to 2015, the percentage of people with depression increased by 18 points.
"These new figures are a wake-up call for all countries to re-think their approaches to mental health and to treat it with the urgency that it deserves", WHO Director-General, Margaret Chan, MD, said in a statement.
Depression is one of the priority conditions covered by WHO's Mental Health Gap Action Programme (mhGAP).The Programme asserts that with proper care, psychosocial assistance and medication, tens of millions of people with mental disorders, including depression, could begin to lead normal lives, even where resources are scarce. Even in high-income countries, almost 50% of people with depression do not get treatment.
Just exposing sufferers to stories about how depression has affected "every day people" across various spectrums of life helps, says Dr Carbone.
Investment in mental health makes economic sense. "The continuing stigma associated with mental illness was the reason why we made a decision to name our campaign Depression: let's talk", said Dr Shekhar Saxena, Director of the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse at WHO.
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The WHO India office also spoke of the need to strengthen treatment structures. Households lose out financially when people can not work.
The UK's leading bodies representing psychologists, psychotherapists, psychoanalysts and counsellors recently wrote an open letter, published in The Independent, urging the Government to suspend benefit sanctions which are often imposed on people with mental health problems.
Governments, employers and households have faced economic losses from depression, which can cause lack of energy, drastic changes in sleeping and eating patterns, substance abuse, anxiety and other mental disorders.
One can have a single bout of major depression or can have recurring episodes.When depression lasts two years or more, it is called persistent depressive disorder.
According to mental health charities in the United Kingdom, mixed anxiety and depression is the most commonly diagnosed mental health problem in the country, with 7.8 per cent of the population meeting the criteria for the condition, which is believed to account for one fifth of all days taken of work.