Depression is one of the biggest and often most widely misunderstood mental health problems in the world. It can affect all parts of society from the young, the old and the poor to the well-off and successful to varying. The fact that nearly 80% of those with potentially clinical depression are not seeking help should be a global worry.
Many factors can cause an episode of depression including stress and grief, disability, substance abuse or a medical illness such as cancer or heart disease. It can lead to feelings of hopelessness, difficulty concentrating, cause you to indulge in harmful habits such as drinking too much alcohol, lead to suicidal thoughts and exacerbate health problems.
Despite the fact that many people don’t seek the help of a health professional, depression is one of the most treatable of the mental health disorders.
Across the world:
- Depression affects 1 in 5 women and 1 in 10 men.
- The World Health Organisation estimates that there are some 350 million people across the globe suffering from depression.
- More than 800,000 people die because of depression each year and it’s one of the primary factors in the unnatural deaths of young people between 15 and 29.
- In some countries, fewer than 10% of those suffering from depression seek professional help or get access to the appropriate treatment.
- 15 to 20% of women are likely to develop some degree of post-natal depression.
- 1 in 5 people who have a severe depressive disorder are also likely to have one or more psychotic episodes.
- The rates of anxiety and depression among younger people have increased by 70% in the last 25 years in countries like the UK.
In the USA:
- At least 16 million people have admitted to having one or more major episodes of depression.
- The average age when depression occurs is 32 though it can affect anyone at any time.
- Young men are at a higher risk of suicide than young women (ratio: 7 to 1).
- Those living in poverty are three times more likely to suffer from a major depressive episode.
- People who have a depressive illness are 4 times more likely to develop a heart condition than those who do not have a history of heart disease.
- Illness often causes major depressive episodes. 25% of cancer patients report depression and 50% of patients with Parkinson’s Disease do also.
- One of the biggest challenges to the treatment of depression is patients not taking their medication properly or when they stop taking it early.
In the UK and Europe:
- Young people are more susceptible to depression and 1 in 4 of those have contemplated suicide.
- Over half of children who were bullied at school go on to have depressive episodes as adults.
- 1 in 15 people across Europe have suffered from an episode of depression, representing around 83 million people.
- 32% of people with depression have another mental health or health problem.
- Europe has 6 of the countries in the top 20 for suicide with Lithuania being the fifth highest.
Across the rest of the world, depression is still a considerable public health concern:
WHO Depression Fact Sheet
Depression and Mental Health by the Numbers: Facts, Statistics, and You
Young People: Mental Health Statistics
Depression Rates Around the World