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Depression

    Overview

    Depression is a common mental disorder affecting more than 264 million people worldwide. It is characterized by persistent sadness and a lack of interest or pleasure.  It can also disturb sleep and appetite; tiredness and poor concentration are common. Depression is a leading cause of disability around the world and contributes greatly to the global burden of disease. The effects of depression can be long-lasting or recurrent and can dramatically affect a person’s ability to function and live a rewarding life.

    66顺彩票appThe causes of depression include complex interactions between social, psychological and biological factors. Life events such as childhood adversity, loss and unemployment contribute to and may catalyse the development of depression.

    Psychological and pharmacological treatments exist for moderate and severe depression. However, in low- and middle-income countries treatment and support services for depression are often absent or underdeveloped. An estimated 76–85% of people suffering from mental disorders in these countries lack access to the treatment they need. 

    Impact

    66顺彩票appDepression and associated mental disorders can have a profound effect on all aspects of life, including effectiveness in school, productivity in work, relationships with family and friends, and an individual’s ability to participate in the community. Research also shows strong relationships between depression and physical health, including tuberculosis and cardiovascular disease. Depression affects all types of people – young and old, rich and poor – in all countries. Women are more likely to have depression than men. 

     

    Response

    WHO works with Member States and partners to reduce the burden of mental disorders like depression. The World Health Assembly has passed several resolutions relating to the prevention and treatment of depression, including in a May 2013 resolution calling for a comprehensive, coordinated response to mental disorders at the country level.

    WHO has developed brief psychological intervention manuals for depression that may be delivered by lay workers. An example is Problem Management Plus, which describes the use of behavioural activation, relaxation training, problem solving treatment and strengthening social support. Moreover, the manual Group Interpersonal Therapy (IPT) for Depression describes group treatment of depression. Finally, Thinking Healthy covers the use of cognitive-behavioural therapy for perinatal depression.

    66顺彩票appWHO’s mental health Gap Action Programme (mhGAP) focuses on helping countries to increase services from health workers who are not specialists in mental health. This allows gaps in service to be filled and broaden the overall capacity of a country’s health care system. This work includes brief psychological interventions as well as antidepressant medicines for moderate and severe depression. The mhGAP program focuses on scaling up of non-specialist services to respond to this urgent public health need.

    66顺彩票appPublications

    All →
    mhGAP Intervention Guide - Version 2.0

    This is the second version (2016) of the mhGAP Intervention Guide (mhGAP-IG) for mental, neurological and substance use (MNS) disorders in non-specialist...

    Group Interpersonal Therapy (IPT) for Depression

     Depression is an important health condition. It is the leading cause of disability worldwide, and it can be a cause of suicide. Depression will be...

    Thinking Healthy: A manual for psychological management of perinatal depression

    The Thinking Health manual outlines an evidence-based approach describing how community health workers can reduce prenatal depression through evidence-based...

    Problem management plus (??????PM+)??????: individual psychological help for adults impaired by distress in communities exposed to adversity

    66顺彩票appWith this manual, the World Health Organization (WHO) is responding to requests from colleagues around the world who seek guidance on psychological interventions...

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