Let's talk about depression

Today is World Health Day, and this year's theme is "Depression: let's talk". Cases of depression have risen almost 20 percent in the last decade, making the debilitating disorder that's linked to suicide the leading cause of disability worldwide. Connie Kerrigan, Director of Community Outreach, Parkview Behavioral Health, helps us understand why having an open dialogue around the disease is so important.

Rates of depression have risen by more than 18 percent since 2005, now affecting more than 322 million people worldwide. Unfortunately, due to lack of support for mental health issues and stigma surrounding the diagnosis, many people don't get the treatment they need to live healthy and productive lives. 

"These new figures are a wake-up call for all countries to rethink their approaches to mental health and to treat it with the urgency that it deserves," World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Margaret Chan said in a statement.

According to WHO, depression is different from usual mood fluctuations and short-lived emotional responses to challenges in everyday life. It's characterized by persistent sadness and a loss of interest in normal activities, and it can cause the affected person to suffer greatly and function poorly at work, at school and in the family. The mental health disorder may become a serious health condition, especially when it's long-lasting, with moderate or severe intensity, increasing the risk of several major diseases including addiction, suicidal behavior, diabetes and heart disease, which are themselves among the world's biggest killers.

There are effective treatments for moderate and severe cases. Health-care providers may offer psychological treatments, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT) and/or antidepressant medications if needed.  Often, the first step is talking with your primary care provider. There are so many things that can be done to help someone begin to feel better, it's important to talk to someone who can help you find the resources you need to feel better.

Sometime symptoms can be so severe that more intensive care may be needed. The good news is you don’t have to figure that out alone. Parkview Behavioral Health provides a 24 hour hotline that is staffed by mental health professionals who can direct you to care based on what you're experiencing.  The most important thing to remember is you are not alone. Help is available, and the more we begin talking about depression and mental health the better off we all will be.

For immediate assistance or anytime you have a question call 1-800-284-8439.

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