GLOBAL communities will observe World Health Day on Friday, April 7, with focus on the theme, “Depression, Let’s Talk”.

Dr. Ramona Abat, a psychiatrist, in a Department of Health-led kapihan forum at the PIA grounds, Wednesday, April 5, said the World Health Organization (WHO) focuses the observance on depression as it remains to be the leading cause of ill health and disability worldwide.

WHO statistics show more than 300 million people are now living with depression, an increase of around 18 percent between 2005 to 2015.

One out of every five persons or around 20 percent of people have experienced depression in some point of their lives.

Abat shared as early as 13 years old and up to senior years, individuals can experience depression and it can be due to biological, psychological or social factors.

At the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center’s Psychiatry ward, for every 100 patients that visit them, around 25 to 30 are diagnosed to be experiencing depression.

An illness that needs to be given special attention and support, depression can be prevented by maintaining a healthy lifestyle that includes having a balance diet, enough rest/sleep and by managing stress.

Mild to modest depression can be managed through psycho–therapy and regular exercises but when it is already severe, medication is needed, she added.

Abat also advised people against the stigma of visiting a psychiatrist as depression can lead to other severe illnesses and also suicidal tendencies.

Lack of support for people with mental disorders coupled with fear of stigma prevent many from accessing the treatment they need to live healthy and productive lives, WHO reports. (PIA-CAR)