WHO global health days

How you can get involved

World Health Day 2017

Use and adapt our campaign materials

We have developed a set of posters and handouts to get the campaign started.


Each poster depicts a conversation between two people about depression: a mother and daughter; a mother with her young baby and a health-care worker; a student and teacher; two men at work; and an older woman with a younger woman. Cultural variations are in development for each scenario as are versions of the posters in Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian and Spanish.


The handouts are intended to provide initial information on depression, to increase understanding of the condition, and how it can be prevented and treated.

These are the handouts that you can use for your campaign activities:

  • Depression: what you should know
  • Living with someone with depression?
  • Worried that your child is depressed?
  • Worried about your future? Preventing depression during your teens and twenties
  • Wondering why your new baby is not making you happy?
  • Staying positive and preventing depression as you get older
  • Do you know someone who may be considering suicide?
  • Do you feel like life is not worth living?

Each handout is being produced in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish.

Please note that WHO-branded materials should be used as is. For questions on use of the materials, please send an email to whd17@who.int.

Think about where campaign materials can be made available to reach people for whom they are intended. A few ideas are: health-care centres, doctors’ surgeries, clinics, hospitals, schools, colleges and universities, supermarkets, leisure and social clubs, associations, places of work, places of worship, and public transport.

Organize an activity

Organizing an activity or event is a great way to raise awareness about depression and stimulate action, both among individuals, and on a wider scale. If you do decide to organize an event, keep in mind the following:

  • What are you trying to achieve?
  • Who are you targeting?
  • What would make your target audiences want to participate?
  • When and where will your activity be held?
  • Should you join up with other organizations?
  • Who will you invite? Are there any well-known figures who could help you achieve your goals?
  • Do you have the resources to achieve your goals? If not, how can you mobilize them?
  • How will you promote your event?
  • Can the media help you achieve your goals? If so, which media should you target?
  • How will you share information about your activities after the event?
  • How will you measure success?

Examples of activities that you might want to consider are: discussion forums, sporting events, workshops for journalists, art competitions, coffee mornings, concerts, sponsored activities ̶ anything that contributes to a better understanding of depression and how it can be prevented and treated.

Think about involving your organization’s champions, especially if they are influential among those you are trying to reach.

While this is a one-year campaign, and as such, activities can be organized throughout the year, we encourage you to consider hosting activities on World Health Day, 7 April 2017. Media attention is high on this day, which can generate greater awareness.

Information about depression

If you are organizing an activity, or developing your own campaign materials, here are some facts and figures that you might want to use:

  • Common mental disorders are increasing worldwide. Between 1990 and 2013, the number of people suffering from depression and/or anxiety increased by nearly 50%. Close to 10% of the world’s population is affected by one or both of these conditions. Depression alone accounts for 10% of years lived with disability globally.
  • In humanitarian emergencies and ongoing conflict, as many as 1 in 5 people are affected by depression and anxiety.
  • Depression increases the risk of other noncommunicable diseases, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. In addition, diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease increase the risk of depression.
  • Depression in women following childbirth can affect the development of new-borns.
  • In many countries of the world, there is no, or very little, support available for people with mental health disorders. Even in high-income countries, nearly 50% of people with depression do not get treatment.
  • Lack of treatment for common mental disorders has a high economic cost: new evidence from a study led by WHO shows that depression and anxiety disorders alone cost more than a trillion dollars’ worth of economic loss every year.
  • The most common mental health disorders can be prevented and treated, at relatively low cost.

Share information and materials on social media

Throughout the campaign we will be communicating via our social media channels Facebook https://www.facebook.com/WHO/, Twitter https://twitter.com/who @WHO, YouTube https://www.youtube.com/c/who and Instagram @worldhealthorganization

The primary hashtag that we are using for the campaign is #LetsTalk but look out for posts using #depression and #mentalhealth as well.

We encourage you to share our posts with your own networks, share your own materials and join discussions on issues related to the campaign.

Countdown to World Health Day, 7 April 2017