World Health Day: workplaces have a key role to play to prevent depression

April 7th is the World Health Day. This year, the WHO puts a highlight on depression, with a campaign aiming at sensitising people on this disease that is reaching more and more people worldwide. Indeed, today, more than 300 million people live with depression (+18% between 2005 and 2015). It is the leading cause of ill health and disability worldwide.

The continuing stigma associated with mental illness was the reason why we decided to name our campaign Depression: let’s talk,” said Dr Shekhar Saxena, Director of the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse at WHO. The campaign therefore aims at raising awareness of people suffering from depression, but also from their surrounding peers: family, friends, colleagues and employers …

Workplaces are key for the detection and prevention of depression. As stated by the European Alliance for Mental Health Employment and Work, “addressing depression in workplace settings means preventing psychosocial workplace risks, promoting resilience and wellbeing, enabling early detection of poor mental health, supporting rehabilitation of workers facing mental ill health, and reducing stigma”. Moreover, the WHO has identified strong links between depression and other noncommunicable diseases. Depression increases the risk of substance use disorders and diseases such as diabetes and heart disease, but the opposite is also true. Promoting healthy lifestyle on the workplace, which is the aim of the FOOD programme, therefore contributes in preventing physical but also mental health disorders.




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