Depression, the leading cause of mental disability worldwide, is the focus of 2017 World Health Day. The Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) joined the worldwide recognition of the campaign to discuss a multi-pronged approach to treating the disease on Friday, 7 April 2017 at Doornfontein Campus.
This year the campaign theme is ‘Depression: let’s talk’.
“The aim of this gathering was to raise awareness about depression and reduce the stigma that surrounds it by creating positive, fact based and hopeful messages about depression for the academic community,” said Ms Mpinane Senekane, Lecturer: Environmental Health, UJ.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), depression affects people of all ages, from all walks of life, in all countries. “It causes mental anguish and impacts on people’s ability to carry out even the simplest everyday tasks, with sometimes devastating consequences for relationships with family and friends and the ability to earn a living. At worst, depression can lead to suicide, now the second leading cause of death among 15-29-year olds,” states the WHO.
“With this campaign, we want to inform our students, colleagues and the society at large about depression, its causes and the consequences. The green ribbons are a sign of hope and we are saying, “The battle of depression should be over”. If you are suffering from depression, please seek help. Talk to someone. Commit to work on yourself,” added Ms. Senekane.
Ms Senekane concluded: “We can change the conversation on depression by raising awareness, providing resources to people with depression challenges.”
“The occasion was organized by the department of Environmental Health to highlight the significance of the day and different activities related to this year’s theme included video presentations and a drama skit.
World Health Day is celebrated in each year to mark the founding of the World Health Organization in 1948. Each year a different theme is chosen as a priority area of public health to keep the public informed of activities and knowledge that can lead to better health.