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WHO says 300 million people suffer depression, 800,000 commit suicide yearly


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More than 300 million people of all ages suffer from depression, which is the leading cause of disability worldwide, and is a major contributor to the overall global burden of disease, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

WHO, in a global estimate published yesterday noted that at its worst, depression can lead to suicide and close to 800 000 people die due to suicide every year, which is the second leading cause of death in 15 to 29-year-olds.

The body said that although there are known, effective treatments for depression, fewer than half of those affected in the world (in many countries, fewer than 10 per cent) receive such treatments.

It noted that barriers to effective care include a lack of resources, lack of trained health-care providers, social stigma associated with mental disorders, and inaccurate assessment.

According to the WHO, 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.

Indeed, the burden of depression and other mental health conditions are on the rise globally. A World Health Assembly resolution passed in May 2013 has called for a comprehensive, coordinated response to mental disorders at country level.

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