While no special events are planned for the day, a Ministry of Health spokesperson says it is a timely theme, with depression on the rise in countries around the world, including Pacific nations.
The spokesperson said an estimated 300 million people around the world were affected by depression.
“Depression is different from usual mood fluctuations and short-lived emotional responses to challenges in everyday life. Especially when long-lasting and with moderate or severe intensity, depression may become a serious health condition.
“It can cause the affected person to suffer greatly and function poorly at work, at school and in the family. At its worst, depression can lead to suicide. Around the world, almost 800 000 people die due to suicide every year. Suicide is the second leading cause of death in 15-29-year-olds.”
The spokesman says while there are effective treatments for depression, fewer than half of those affected in the world receive them.
“Barriers to effective care include lack of resources, lack of trained health-care providers, and social stigma associated with mental disorders. Another barrier to effective care is inaccurate assessment.
“In countries of all income levels, people who are depressed are often not correctly diagnosed, and others who do not have the disorder are too often misdiagnosed and prescribed antidepressants.”