According to the latest estimates released by World Health Organization (WHO), 300 million across the world are suffering from depression. The UN agency released the number recently ahead of World Health Day on April 7. According to the report, the number of people suffering from depression has gone up by 18 per cent between 2005 and 2015. To highlight the issue, WHO has decided to launch a year-long campaign called Depression: Let’s Talk. The focus of the campaign is to encourage people to seek help. The report points out that lack of support for people with mental disorders, coupled with a fear of stigma, prevent many from accessing the treatment they need to live healthy, productive lives. “The continuing stigma associated with mental illness was the reason why we decided to name our campaign Depression: let’s talk,” said Shekhar Saxena, Director of the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse at WHO. Talking about the infrastructure and the support system available to treat the problem, the report says that only 25 per cent of those afflicted have access to appropriate treatment options, and existing treatments. including anti-depressants ‘which are not always effective even when properly prescribed’.

In the UAE, according to reports published last year, five per cent of the population is battling depression.