M'sia marks World Health Day 2017 with focus on depression

FAIRUZ MOHD SHAHAR

PUTRAJAYA: The Health Ministry is marking World Health Day 2017, which falls today, with the theme “Depression – Let’s Talk”.

Its minister, Datuk Seri Dr S Subramaniam, said depression affects people of all ages, races and backgrounds, in all countries.

“Depression is a disorder which causes a person to feel sad for a long time, fatigue, lack of energy, and can even impact one’s ability to carry out daily tasks.

“It can have a serious effect on relationships with family and friends, as well as one’s abilities.

“At worst, depression can lead to self-injury and suicide,” he said in a statement today.

Subramaniam said the theme Depression – Let’s Talk is aimed at raising awareness on depression in our society, its causes, and factors that lead to suicide.

It is also aimed at encouraging depression sufferers to seek assistance and treatment, as well as to encourage family members, friends and colleagues to talk to, help and support the patient.

“Depression can be prevented and treated. One of the important components (for treatment) is to talk, discuss and express feelings to the person you trust the most, which can be the first step towards recovery.

“A better understanding of what depression is will help reduce the stigma associated with mental illness. Such a stigma deters a patient from talking and expressing his or her feeling,” he said.

Subramaniam said this year’s World Health Day theme underscores the importance of addressing depression, reducing the stigma surrounding it, and encouraging more people to get help.