Depression, Let's talk

Swaziland_UNCT_Lutsango in dancing to a song on depression during the WHD 2017Lutsango dancing to a traditional song on depression during the 2017 World Health Day. ©WHO/2017

 

In line with the 2017 World Health Day theme, “Depression, Let’s talk”, the Government and various stakeholders convened at Happy Valley Hotel on Friday, 7th April to "talk" about depression with the aim of finding solutions to the life-threatening, yet preventable condition.

This was during the 2017 World Health Day (WHD) commemoration which also marks the anniversary of the World Health Organization (WHO), founded in 1948. Depression, according to National Psychiatrist Dr Violet Mwanjali, causes negative changes in feelings, thinking and behavior.

Presenting during the event, Dr. Mwanjali reported that depression affects people of all ages, from all walks of life, in all countries. In addition, causes mental distress and impacts on individuals’ ability to perform even simple everyday tasks, sometimes with devastating results for relationships with family.

"If not treated, depression can lead to suicide, now the second leading cause of death among 15-29-year olds," she said. She further reported that in Swaziland about 102 males committed suicide in 2014, compared to 23 females. About 29 females were admitted for the first time at the National Psychiatric Hospital between January and December 2015 while 10 were re-admissions. On the other hand, 15 males were admitted and five re-admitted during the same year.

Ministry of Health Private Secretary, Dr Simon Zwane, who represented the Minister of Health, Hon. Sibongile Ndlela-Simelane, emphasised that depression can be prevented and treated. “Health education about depression i.e. what it is, how it can be prevented and treated will assist in reducing the stigma associated with the condition and encourage more people to seek help,” he said.

Speaking at the same event, WHO Representative, Dr Tigest Ketsela Mengestu assured participants that with proper treatment, care and support people can fully recover from depression. She stressed that depression can be prevented through avoiding stressful situations, alcohol abuse and drug use as well as maintaining a proper diet and physical activity.

“However, the sad news is that most of us are still in denial, thus depression remains hidden, not treated and not talked about. Most people with this condition, who are in need of treatment, care and support, do not receive it,” she added, further noting that mental disorders including depression are very complex and cannot be addressed by the health sector alone.

Millions of people around the world live with depression. “Living with a black dog” is a guide for partners, carers and sufferers of depression. It advises those living with and caring for people with depression on what to do, what not to do, and where to go for help. ©WHO/2017

 

"There is a need to strengthen partnerships, involvement and collaborative efforts across all key stakeholders – communities, families and civil society should all join hands in addressing mental health issues. Talking with people you trust can be a first step towards recovery from depression," she said.

Dr Mengestu called for the strengthening of community engagement and social mobilisation programmes to ensure proper public education and awareness creation on depression, clearing misunderstandings, and breaking stigma and discrimination.

“Let us ensure provision of community care and treatment for depression in primary care settings by trained general health personnel as fundamental steps towards easier access to care for a large number of people. We also need to ensure uninterrupted availability of essential medicines for treating depression at all levels of the health care system. We need to strengthen human resources for health, in terms of increasing training and retention of mental health professionals with skills for the management of depression,” she said.

The WHO Representative reiterated that WHO will continue working with health care leaders to create options for managing and treating mental health conditions, including depression.

This year’s campaign was aimed at educating the general public about depression; encouraging people suffering from depression to seek help; leveraging support from their families, friends and colleagues. Attendees of the 2017 WHD commemoration included Senior Government officials, UN Resident Coordinator, Israel Dessalegne, UNFPA Representative, Sharareh Armikhalili and UNICEF Representative, Rachel Odede. 

 

Speaking at the same event, WHO Representative, Dr Tigest Ketsela Mengestu assured participants that with proper treatment, care and support people can fully recover from depression. She stressed that depression can be prevented through avoiding stressful situations, alcohol abuse and drug use as well as maintaining a proper diet and physical activity.

“However, the sad news is that most of us are still in denial, thus depression remains hidden, not treated and not talked about. Most people with this condition, who are in need of treatment, care and support, do not receive it,” she added, further noting that mental disorders including depression are very complex and cannot be addressed by the health sector alone.

"There is a need to strengthen partnerships, involvement and collaborative efforts across all key stakeholders – communities, families and civil society should all join hands in addressing mental health issues. Talking with people you trust can be a first step towards recovery from depression," she said.

Dr Mengestu called for the strengthening of community engagement and social mobilisation programmes to ensure proper public education and awareness creation on depression, clearing misunderstandings, and breaking stigma and discrimination.

“Let us ensure provision of community care and treatment for depression in primary care settings by trained general health personnel as fundamental steps towards easier access to care for a large number of people. We also need to ensure uninterrupted availability of essential medicines for treating depression at all levels of the health care system. We need to strengthen human resources for health, in terms of increasing training and retention of mental health professionals with skills for the management of depression,” she said.

The WHO Representative reiterated that WHO will continue working with health care leaders to create options for managing and treating mental health conditions, including depression.

This year’s campaign was aimed at educating the general public about depression; encouraging people suffering from depression to seek help; leveraging support from their families, friends and colleagues. Attendees of the 2017 WHD commemoration included Senior Government officials, UN Resident Coordinator, Israel Dessalegne, UNFPA Representative, Sharareh Armikhalili and UNICEF Representative, Rachel Odede. 

 

Speaking at the same event, WHO Representative, Dr Tigest Ketsela Mengestu assured participants that with proper treatment, care and support people can fully recover from depression. She stressed that depression can be prevented through avoiding stressful situations, alcohol abuse and drug use as well as maintaining a proper diet and physical activity.

“However, the sad news is that most of us are still in denial, thus depression remains hidden, not treated and not talked about. Most people with this condition, who are in need of treatment, care and support, do not receive it,” she added, further noting that mental disorders including depression are very complex and cannot be addressed by the health sector alone.

"There is a need to strengthen partnerships, involvement and collaborative efforts across all key stakeholders – communities, families and civil society should all join hands in addressing mental health issues. Talking with people you trust can be a first step towards recovery from depression," she said.

Dr Mengestu called for the strengthening of community engagement and social mobilisation programmes to ensure proper public education and awareness creation on depression, clearing misunderstandings, and breaking stigma and discrimination.

“Let us ensure provision of community care and treatment for depression in primary care settings by trained general health personnel as fundamental steps towards easier access to care for a large number of people. We also need to ensure uninterrupted availability of essential medicines for treating depression at all levels of the health care system. We need to strengthen human resources for health, in terms of increasing training and retention of mental health professionals with skills for the management of depression,” she said.

The WHO Representative reiterated that WHO will continue working with health care leaders to create options for managing and treating mental health conditions, including depression.

This year’s campaign was aimed at educating the general public about depression; encouraging people suffering from depression to seek help; leveraging support from their families, friends and colleagues. Attendees of the 2017 WHD commemoration included Senior Government officials, UN Resident Coordinator, Israel Dessalegne, UNFPA Representative, Sharareh Armikhalili and UNICEF Representative, Rachel Odede.