Mental health

Depression: let’s talk

7 April 2017 – WHO is leading a one-year global campaign on depression. The highlight is World Health Day 2017, celebrated today. The goal of the campaign is that more people with depression, everywhere in the world, both seek and get help. Depression is the leading cause of ill health and disability worldwide. More than 300 million people are now living with depression, an increase of more than 18% between 2005 and 2015.

WHO behavioural intervention shows promise for treating depression and anxiety in conflict-affected areas

Peshawar, Pakistan
WHO/H. Bower

November 2016 – Problem Management Plus (PM+), a WHO behavioural intervention delivered by lay health workers, showed significant reductions in depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress as well as improved functioning in adults living in a conflict-affected area of Pakistan, according to a study published online in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) on 12 November. The study, a randomized controlled trial of the intervention in a conflict-affected setting, paves the way for introduction of the intervention in conflict-affected areas.

Resource for diagnosis and management of depression in non-specialized health settings

November 2016 - The mhGAP Intervention Guide 2.0 is a resource to help health practitioners in non-specialized health settings recognize and treat mental health disorders. The section on depression provides guidance on assessment, the different types of treatment that can be prescribed, and follow-up. It includes information on treatment for depression among children and adolescents and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Version 2.0 was published in October 2016.

Highlights

Depression is a common mental disorder, characterized by sadness, loss of interest or pleasure, feelings of guilt or low self-worth, disturbed sleep or appetite, feelings of tiredness, and poor concentration.

Depression can be long-lasting or recurrent, substantially impairing an individual’s ability to function at work or school or cope with daily life. At its most severe, depression can lead to suicide. When mild, people can be treated without medicines but when depression is moderate or severe they may need medication and professional talking treatments.

Depression is a disorder that can be reliably diagnosed and treated by non-specialists as part of primary health care. Specialist care is needed for a small proportion of individuals with complicated depression or those who do not respond to first-line treatments.

Resources