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NurChat 28/03/17 – World Health Day: Let’s talk depression

World Health Day is celebrated every year on 7th April to mark the anniversary of the founding of the World Health Organisation. Each year, a particular area of focus is chosen that is in need of increased awareness and is of concern around the world.

This year, we’re talking about depression. And that short phrase encompasses so much about the aims of this year’s World Health Day. Depression – and crucially – talking about it.

It’s thought that around 3 in every 100 people have depression with even more experiencing a combination of mental health issues (Ref: Mind). Depression doesn’t discriminate, it can happen to anyone in any part of the world and at any time. Debilitating and sometimes deadly, it can remove a person’s ability to function independently, destroy relationships and cause feelings of hopelessness to such an extent that someone takes their own life. An estimated 90% of people who attempt or die by suicide have one or more mental health issues. (Ref: NHS Choices) and over 6,000 people committed suicide in the UK in 2015 (Ref: ONS).

Some years ago, depression was labelled ‘a major health problem’ for some residents in nursing home settings (ref: Nursing Times). Residents without cognitive impairment and younger residents were prone to depression, so is this is still a common health risk?

It’s not just our patients and service users who can suffer with depression, what about our own mental wellbeing? Working in healthcare, whether in a nursing, care or medical role can mean extended periods of stress and pressure, coping with competing priorities and changing workloads. In recent months, the news that at least four junior doctors have taken their own lives in Australia reminds us that workplace difficulties can be a key influence in our mental wellbeing (Ref: The Guardian).

Read back over the discussion here