WHO Says Depression Is the Leading Cause of Poor Health
According to the latest estimates from the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2015, more than 300 million people worldwide are now living with depression. This figure, which represents an increase of more than 18 percent since 2005, establishes depression as the number one cause of illness and disability.
The WHO released this information ahead of World Health Day on April 7, 2017, "as a call for call for all countries to re-think their approaches to mental health and to treat it with the urgency that it deserves." The first steps include addressing the continuing stigma associated with mental illness and increasing funding for mental health programs around the world.
Depression is characterized by persistent sadness, a loss of interest in activities normally enjoyed, and the inability to carry out daily activities, for 14 days or longer. Other symptoms of depression include a lack of energy, a change in appetite and/or sleep habits, and others. People who are depressed also have an increased risk for substance use disorders and conditions like diabetes and heart disease.
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