World Health Day 2017

Depression-Let’s talk*


Key messages:

Depression is a common mental disorder that affects all. The risk is increased by poverty, unemployment, life events such as the death of a loved one or a relationship break-up, physical illness and problems caused by alcohol and drug use.

Depression causes mental anguish and can impact on people’s ability to carry out even the simplest everyday tasks, with sometimes devastat ing consequences for relationships with family and friends.

Untreated depression can prevent people from working and participating in family and community life.

At worst, depression can lead to suicide, now the second leading cause of death among 15-29-year olds globally.

Depression can be effectively prevented and treated. Treatment usually involves either psychotherapy or antidepressant medication or a combination of these.

Overcoming the stigma often associated with depression will lead to more people seeking help.

World Health Day

World Health Day, celebrated on 7 April every year to mark the anniversary of the founding of the World Health Organization, provides a unique opportunity to mobilize action around a specific health topic of concern to people all over the world. The theme of World Health Day 2017 campaign is depression.

What is depression?

Depression is an illness characterized by persistent sadness and a loss of interest in activities that you normally enjoy, accompanied by an inability to carry out daily activities, for at least two weeks.

In addition, people with depression normally have several of the following symptoms:

  1. Loss of energy;
  2. Change in appetite;
  3. Sleeping more or less;
  4. Anxiety;
  5. Reduced concentration;
  1. Indecisiveness;
  2. Restlessness;
  3. Feelings of worthlessness, guilt, or hopelessness; 
  4. Thoughts of self-harm or suicide.

What is the burden of depression?

What is the campaign?

The overall goal of this one-year campaign is that more people with depression, in all countries, seek and get help.

More specifically, it is aimed at creating a better informed general public on depression, its causes and possible consequences, including suicide, and help available for prevention and treatment; encouraging people with depression to seek help; and facilitating family, friends and colleagues of people living with depression, to provide support.

At the core of the campaign is the importance of talking about depression as a vital component of recovery. The stigma surrounding mental illness, including depression, remains a barrier to people seeking help throughout the world.

Talking about depression, whether with a family member, friend or medical professional; in larger groups, for example in schools, the workplace and social settings; or in the public domain, in the news media, blogs or on social media, helps break down this stigma, ultimately leading to more people seeking help.

What is the slogan?

The campaign slogan is: Depression: let’s talk.

Who are we reaching out?

Depression can affect anyone, this campaign is for everyone, whatever your age, sex, or social status.

While the World Health Day 2017 campaign will be broad-based, the focus will be on vulnerable population, including demographic vulnerability (young people, women, elderly), geographical and financial vulnerability etc.

Further details can be accessed at