Today is #WorldHealthDay and the focus this year is on depression, the leading cause of disability worldwide. Depression can affect anyone, at any time, in any country. In fact, according to the WHO, more than 300 million people worldwide are living with depression, an 18% increase from 2005 to 2015. The WHO defines it as 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. Depression can have devastating consequences on every facet of life – work, school, leisure, relationships – and can contribute to a multitude of diseases, costing the global economy more than US$ 1 trillion each year. At its worst, depression can lead to suicide, now the second leading cause of death among 15-29-year-olds.
Lack of support for people with mental disorders, coupled with the stigma surrounding depression, prevent many from accessing treatment. Depression can be effectively prevented and treated, and the earlier, the better. Depression often begins early in life, with about 50% of all lifetime cases able to be diagnosed by age 25.
Thoughts of the future can be overwhelming for adolescents and young people; they can cause anxiety and depression. It is so important for teenagers to have someone who will listen and to whom they can talk. We at Mentor provide adult friends and role models; someone who does not judge and helps young people strengthen their self-confidence and self-esteem. Depression should only ever be treated by a trained professional, and a mentor is not a replacement, but having an adult mentor provide extra support would make all young people better off. A strong support system of trusted people is essential to both preventing and treating adolescent depression.
Mentor works every day to improve the situation for young people by letting them know they are someone who matters. We support programs that empower, inspire, and motivate young people, giving them hope for the future. Let’s work together to increase awareness of depression and reduce the stigma. Mentoring makes a difference.
For more information on how you can get involved as a volunteer or partner, please contact Amy Mangino, International Development Director, at [email protected]. #WorldHealthDay #LetsTalk #MentorInternational