Depression; the leading causes of disabilities
The World Health Organization (WHO) has projected that, by 2030, depression can be the first leading causes all disabilities.
Around eight percent (worldwide) and seven percent in South-East-Asia Region of all lived with disability in 2015.
This was highlighted as the country observed the World Health day on 7 April at Thimphu.
In the WHO South East Asia Region, 86 million people suffer from depression which increased by 18 percent from 2005 to 2015.
Depression is a main cause of suicidal cases. WHO estimated that close to 800,000 people die by suicide every year.
The theme of the World Health day, this year is ‘Depression; Let’s Talk’ which indicated that, by opening up to people, he or she must share about the feelings to other.
Minister of health, Lyonpo Tandin Wangchuk who was the chief guest of that day said, “Depression can be prevented and treatable.”
Lyonpo added that the unlimited wants of individual is one of the causes of depression among many.
The senior Psychiatrist of Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital, Dr. Chencho Dorji said, “Just as depression can be prevented and treated, and so is suicide, we need proper care with people with depression, so lot of suicides can be
He added that depression causes a lot of suffering for the individual and the family. It can impair functioning, compromise quality of life and even take life.
Psychiatrist said, “The current situation of depression in Bhutan is alarming for a variety of reasons.”
One of the causes could be a huge gap in treatment of people living with depression.
Dr said, in order to reduce the treatment gap, mental health should me made a priority in national agenda in the 12 five years plan. Adding that, “The National Mental Health Program needs to be strengthening in terms of both human resources and funding.”
According to the WHO estimates, Bhutan should have about 20,000 people living with depression in the past year but only 1,000 people sought treatment in hospitals which means only five percent received treatment from all the people suffered from depression.
He said that the depression is a very difficult disease to be identified and diagnose as there is no specific test or equipment to diagnose depression. Diagnosis is mainly through clinical interview and examination.
Another reason could be because of strong social stigma and discrimination of people with mental disorder including depression.
He mentioned that, not only there is shame in seeking treatment due to lack of awareness, there is strong superstation surrounding the causes of mental disorders that prevents them from seeking treatment.
According to him, number of depression causes will also rise with the rapid pace of our development, increasing rural-urban migration, breakup of cohesive community and extended family support, growing unemployment and increasing drugs and alcohol in our societies.
Feeling irritable, loosing temper quickly, feeling restless or agitated at times, and feeling of lonely are few symptoms of depression.
The other symptom includes the change in cognitive functioning such as poor concentration or decreased attention-span, poor memory, slow thinking or not able to think clearly or make even make simple decision.
Seeing everything from the negative side, changes in body functions such as sleep and appetite, feeling fatigued or lacking energy, loss of weight or gain in occasional cases are also significance of depression.
Facial expression of dull or no movement of body or no expression is also one of the symptoms of depression.
The Director of Public Health, Dr. Karma Lhazeen said that, this year theme provides the opportunities to individuals, families, and communities to get involved together in activities that can lead to better well-being and health.
She added that people do not get depressed only when things go wrong. She said, “Some get depressed even when their life is going smoothly.”
The causes of depression are usually multi-factorial including psychosocial stressors like ill health, difficult relationship, financial burden and poverty.
Depression is an important public health problem, one of the leading causes of diseases burden and suicide in the world.
Effective community approaches such as schoolbased program, exercise program and intervention for parents of children with behavioral problems will be expected to reduce the depression burden of a individuals.
Depression can be prevented and treatable: Chief Guest Minister of health, Lyonpo Tandin Wangchuk speaking at the International Health Day in Thimphu on the 7th April, 2017.