Shrink Rap News

World Mental Health Day: Oct. 10


Today, Oct. 10, 2012, is the anniversary of World Mental Health Day, started by the World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH) 20 years ago. Many other advocacy organizations and governments have since recognized this day as a mechanism to promote mental health, including National Depression Screening Day in the United States (which is the next day, on Oct. 11).

Courtesy World Federation for Mental Health

This year’s theme is Depression: A Global Crisis. Depression has long been a significant problem globally, but has particularly taken hold in recent years, associated with the global economic downturn. Some facts from the WFMH, the World Health Organization (WHO), and the National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH) about depression are rather alarming:

  • More than 350 millionMore than 350 million people worldwide have depression
  • Unipolar depression was the third-leading cause of global disease burden in 2004
  • It is expected to be the #1 leading cause by 2030
  • The World Mental Health Survey of people in 17 countries found that 1 in 20 had an episode of depression in the past year
  • Depression is the leading cause of disability in terms of work years lost to disease
  • 16% of U.S. adults have a history of at least one episode of depression... the average age of onset is 32
  • 3,000: number of people lost to suicide ... every day (most have depression)
  • 60,000: number of people attempting suicide ... every day
  • Every 1% rise in unemployment is associated with a 0.79% rise in suicides in nonelderly adults
  • Greece has experienced a 36% increase in suicide attempts since its economic crisis began
  • Less than half of people with depression receive any treatment
  • Only 20% (in the United States) receive minimally adequate treatment
  • At least one-sixth of people with depression actually have bipolar depression
  • People with diabetes or heart disease who also have depression do more poorly and have a higher mortality
  • People on Medicaid who have a chronic medical condition as well as a mental health diagnosis are hospitalized as much as 2-4 times more often for their medical condition than those who do not have a mental health diagnosis
  • If they also have an addiction diagnosis, they are hospitalized 8-15 times more often for their chronic medical condition

Here is a list of resources for more information on depression:

  • Take a free screening for depression, bipolar, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress disorders

—Steven R. Daviss, M.D., DFAPA

DR. DAVISS is chair of the department of psychiatry at the University of Maryland’s Baltimore Washington Medical Center, policy wonk for the Maryland Psychiatric Society, chair of the APA Committee on Electronic Health Records, and co-author of Shrink Rap: Three Psychiatrists Explain Their Work, published by Johns Hopkins University Press. In addition to @HITshrink on Twitter, he can be found on the Shrink Rap blog.

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