MASERU- Ministry of Health (MoH) last week Friday commemorated World Health Day with various government ministries under this year’s international theme which is ‘Depression’.
MoH said it aimed to teach them how to stay healthy and manage depression to limit chronic diseases and mental health disorder so as to improve public services provision by the government departments.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that over 300 million people globally are living with depression, an increase of over 18 percent between 2005 and 2015, just 10 years. WHO also says depression is the leading cause of ill health and disability worldwide, and more than 80 percent of this disease’s burden is borne by low income or middle income countries.
According to Mohlomi Hospital Operational Therapist Masebili Lehema, depression affects people of all ages, from all walks of life and in all countries. Lehema said depression causes mental anguish and impacts on people’s ability to carry out even the simplest everyday tasks, with sometimes devastating consequences for relationships with family and friends and the ability to earn a living and at worst, depression can also lead to suicide, now the second leading cause of death among 15-29-year olds.
She said depression can be prevented and treated. However, a better understanding of what depression is, and how it can be prevented and treated could help reduce the stigma associated with the condition, and lead to more people seeking help.
She said living in poverty or social isolation, being unemployed or working highly stressful conditions can all put pressure on an individual’s mental health, and that living under such conditions along with family and community support networks can play a positive part to counter mental health disorder.
She added that women are mostly affected by depression as a state of mental health while for men it is drugs and alcohol abuse that can lead them to a certain amount of mental disorder. She also said anything that happens in our lives has an effect on us depending on how we handle it emotionally.
Lehema also said coping with past or current painful experiences such as abuse, mourning the dear departed or divorce, could strongly influence an individual’s mental and emotional state which could, in turn, have an influence on their mental health.
The World Health Day is a global health awareness day celebrated every year on 7 April under the auspices of WHO, as well as other related organizations. It is an opportunity to draw worldwide attention to a subject of major importance to global health each year.