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Published today - Lancet - WPA Commission: Time for united action on depression!

"Overlooked and underfunded"—experts call for united action

to reduce the global burden of depression

Commission's key findings:

  • An estimated 5% of adults worldwide suffer from depression each year, yet it remains a neglected global health crisis, that has its most frequent onset in young people.

  • Poor understanding of this condition and lack of psychosocial and financial resources impact on prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and the economic prosperity of nations.

  • The Lancet-World Psychiatric Association Commission outlines ambitious recommendations to tackle inequities and widespread neglect in diagnosis, treatment, and prevention, including prioritising an innovative staged approach to care and early intervention, and delivering collaborative care in resource-limited and other settings

  • The experts call for a whole-of-society approach to preventing depression to achieve benefits similar to those in other fields such as heart disease and cancer, ensuring a holistic pursuit of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

According to this Commission on depression, the world is failing to tackle the persisting and increasingly serious global crisis of depression it is facing and calls for a whole-of-society response tor educing the global burden of depression.

Despite abundant evidence that much can be done to prevent depression and aid recovery even in resource-limited settings, an estimated 5% of the adult population around the world in any year are living with depression. In high-income countries, about half of people suffering from depression are not diagnosed or treated, and this rises to 80-90% in low-and middle-income countries. The COVID-19 pandemic has created additional challenges, with social isolation, bereavement, uncertainty, hardship, and limited access to health caretaking a serious toll on the mental health of millions.

Against this background, the Commission ‘Time for united action on depression’ calls for concerted and collaborative efforts by governments, healthcare providers, researchers, people living with depression, and their families to improve care and prevention, fill knowledge gaps, and increase awareness to tackle one of the leading causes of avoidable suffering and premature death worldwide. It was authored by 25 experts from 11 countries spanning disciplines from neuroscience to global health and advised by people with experience of depression.

“Depression is a global health crisis that demands responses at multiple levels. This Commission offers an important opportunity for united action to transform approaches to mental health care and prevention globally", says Commission Chair Professor Helen Herrman from Orygen, National Centre for Excellence in Youth Mental Health, The University of Melbourne, Australia, and former WPA President.

Dr. Afzal Javed, WPA President added "WPA is proud to be part of this Commission and we are positive it will advance discussions around depression as a whole as well as the associated mental health policy and advocacy on a global level".

To mark the global launch of this Commission, there will be a launch webinar today (the 16th February, 2022), at 12:00 pm GMT/7:00 am EST. Attendance is free and you can register for the webinar here.

Can't attend the live event? By registering, you will receive a link to the on-demand version after the session concludes.

The full Commission can be read here.

Author: WPA


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