Every World Health Day, the World Health Organization tackles yet another health issue to help bring awareness and support to the people it affects, and this April 7 is no different. This World Health Day is devoted to depression— specifically, in encouraging those who have depression to talk about it, and their loved ones to foster a safe and supportive environment so they can do just that. Using the hashtag #LetsTalk, the World Health Organization is encouraging people to get involved in the day of awareness in whatever way they can.
The World Health Organization stresses just how important the #LetsTalk initiative is by sharing key facts about depression, which, if left untreated, can lead to suicide — currently the number one cause of death for 15 to 29-year-olds, and responsible for 800,000 deaths a year worldwide (not accounting for unsuccessful attempts, which are also numerous). Key to treating and preventing depression, though, is lifting the stigma of openly discussing it, and treating it like the medical condition that it is. While it might seem easier to brush under the rug — particularly because unlike other ailments, depression isn't as physically visible or typically symptomatic — the consequences aren't just dire health-wise, but potentially deadly.
To encourage discussion about depression, raise awareness, and provide resources for people with depression seeking help, this World Health Day is all about spreading the word. Here are all the ways you can participate, using the hashtag #LetsTalk.
Share The Images Created By The World Health Organization On Social Media
WHO has created a series of posters around the concept of #LetsTalk, demonstrating the range of depression that is not typically represented in mainstream media — reminding people that depression can happen to anyone, regardless of race, age, sexual orientation, gender, or any other factor. This is especially crucial given the disparity in diagnosing and treating depression in minorities, particularly the elderly. Download the four posters for the U.S. campaign at WHO's website here.
Share WHO's Educational Videos
The World Health Organization has released a video both to help explain what you should know about depression, and another video that helps viewers identify symptoms of it in themselves and in others.
Share Your Own Experiences With The #LetsTalk Hashtag
If you feel comfortable doing so, share your own experiences with depression on social media, and help move one step closer toward normalizing talk about depression — both for those who are suffering from it, and those who may be at a loss for how to help loved ones. If you'd rather not share anything personal and still want to participate, you can retweet WHO from their list of suggested tweets here.
Know The Available Resources
WHO has compiled a list of resources for those who know or suspect that a loved one is experiencing depression, including how to recognize symptoms, what you can do to help as a friend or family member, and how and when you should reach out for professional help.
If you or someone you know are experiencing suicidal thoughts, call 911, or call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.