World Health Day – 7 April 2017; Depression: Let’s talk

NAIROBI, Kenya, 28 March 2017 On 7 April 2017, Kenya will join the world to mark the World Health Day. The day is celebrated globally each year on 7th April, to mark the founding of World Health Organization (WHO) and aims at drawing attention to important health issues facing the world each year. This year’s theme is “Depression: Let’s Talk.”

Depression is an illness that makes you feel constantly sad, lose interest in activities you enjoy and makes it difficult to carry out daily tasks. Signs of depression include: loss of energy, change in appetite, sleeping more or less, anxiety, reduced concentration, indecisiveness, restlessness, feelings of worthlessness, guilt, or hopelessness, thoughts of self-harm or suicide.

According to new estimates of depression, released by the World Health Organization on 23 February 2017, the number of people living with depression has increased by over 18% between 2005 and 2015. Depression is also the largest cause of disability worldwide. More than 80% of this disease burden is among people living in low- and middle-income countries.

The Ministry of Health and partners have lined up several activities to mark the World Health Day with a major event planned at Kangemi, on 7th April.   Prior to the event the Ministry will hold  a symposium on depression at Kenya Medical Training College (KMTC), Nairobi on Tuesday 4th April 2017, followed by a media breakfast and a Continuous Medical Education (CME) symposium at Panafric Hotel, to discuss matters related to medication for mental health disorders.

Currently health professionals are engaged in radio and TV programmes to sensitize the public and create awareness about mental disorders.  At the core of the campaign is the importance of talking about depression as a vital component of recovery. The stigma surrounding mental illness, including depression, remains a barrier to people seeking help throughout the world.

Just talking about depression with friends, family members, colleagues, professionals or as part of a group in school, work, social settings or through social media can help reduce the stigma associated with this illness.

Most people who experience depression need treatment to get better. The good news is that depression, even in its most severe forms, is a highly treatable disorder. The best thing you can do for your family is to seek treatment — antidepressant medication, therapy, or both.

Let’s fight the stigma and encourage more people with depression to speak out. Follow the discussion @MOH_Kenya twitter, hashtag #Depression #KenyaLetsTalk .