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World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates suggest 300 Million people suffer from Depression

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United Nations, April 1, 2017: More than 300 million people are living with depression, according to the latest estimates from the World Health Organisation (WHO). The UN agency released the estimates on Thursday ahead of World Health Day. “These new figures are a wake-up call for all countries to re-think their approaches to mental health and to treat it with the urgency that it deserves,” Xinhua news agency quoted a WHO news release as saying.

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With the number of people with depression increasing more than 18 percent from 2005 to 2015, WHO is carrying out a year-long campaign, Depression: Let’s Talk, the focus of April 7’s World Health Day, with the aim of encouraging more people with depression to get help.

Lack of support for people with mental disorders, coupled with a fear of stigma, prevent many from accessing the treatment they need to live healthy, productive lives. Depression is an important risk factor for suicide, which claims hundreds of thousands of lives each year, says the report. One of the first steps is to address issues around prejudice and discrimination.

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“The continuing stigma associated with mental illness was the reason why we decided to name our campaign Depression: let’s talk,” said Shekhar Saxena, Director of the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse at WHO. “For someone living with depression, talking to a person they trust is often the first step towards treatment and recovery.”

Increased investment is also needed. In many countries, there is no, or very little, support available for people with mental health disorders. Even in high-income countries, nearly 50 per cent of people with depression do not get treatment. On average, just three percent of government health budgets is invested in mental health, varying from less than one percent in low-income countries to five percent in high-income countries, says the report. (IANS)

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Cinema, Museums Can Keep Older Adults Away From Depression

For the study, the researchers studied more than 2,148 adults above 50

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Depression
Cinema, museums may ward off depression risk in elderly.

Regular exposure to cultural activities like cinema, theatre or museums can keep older adults away from depression, finds a new study.

Depression is a major issue affecting millions of people, especially the elderly.

The study showed that people who saw films, plays or exhibitions every few months had a 32 per cent lower risk of developing depression, with those attending once a month or more having a 48 per cent lower risk.

“People engage with culture for the pure enjoyment of doing so, but we need to be raising awareness of their wider benefits too,” said Daisy Fancourt, Senior Research Associate from the University College London in the UK.

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Depression is a major issue affecting millions of people, especially the elderly. Pixabay

The power of these cultural activities lies in the combination of social interaction, creativity, mental stimulation and gentle physical activity they encourage, according to the study, published in the British Journal of Psychiatry.

If we are starting to feel low or isolated then cultural engagement is something simple that we can do to proactively help with our own mental health before it gets to the point where we need professional medical help, according to Fancourt.

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“However, such activities on their own don’t treat depression. This requires an approach based on the use of talking therapies, complemented by the use of medication where an older person does not respond or when they have more severe depression,” noted Amanda Thompsell from the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

For the study, the researchers studied more than 2,148 adults above 50. (IANS)