Observation of World Health Day

Prof N Heramani Singh *

World Health Organization (WHO) Flag
World Health Organization (WHO) Flag :: Pix - Wikipedia/United States Mission Geneva

Background: The World Health Day is a global health awareness day celebrated every year on 7th April, under the sponsorship of the World Health Organization (WHO). The World Health Day is held to mark WHO's founding, and is seen as an opportunity by the organization to draw worldwide attention to a particular subject of major importance to global health each year on 7th April since 1950.

World Health Day 2017, celebrated on 7th April aims to mobilize action on Depression. This condition affects peoples of all ages from all walks of life, in all countries. It impacts on people's ability to carry out everyday tasks, with consequences for families, friends, and even communities, workplaces, and health care systems. At worst, Depression can lead to self-inflicted injury and suicide.

A better understanding of depression which can be prevented and treated will help to reduce the stigma associated with the illness, and lead to more people seeking help. That is why WHO has timely chosen this year's theme "Depression: Lets talk". At this juncture, mentioned may be made that World Federation for Mental Health also had already observed World Mental Health Day, 10th October 2012 with the same important subject under the theme of "Depression: A Global Crisis: to bring awareness of depression and to promote mental health with the aim to reduce stigma to the person who is suffering.

This world Health Day is probably the 3rd opportunity for promoting mental health in public in general and health professionals in particular. Themes related to mental health awareness and promotion came very rarely viz: theme of the world health day 1959 was "Mental illness and Mental Health in the world today" and in 2001 was "Mental Health: Stop exclusion, dare to care"

With this background, now, let's talk and discuss about "Depression"

What is depression?

Transient depressed mood in reaction to negative life experiences is normal. Feeling sad is normal reaction to experiences that are stressful or upsetting. Most people, children as well as adults, feel low or "blue" occasionally. Whereas, "Depression" becomes an illness when the depressed mood is serious and prolonged (continuously not less than two weeks) and is accompanied by other symptoms and disturbances of functioning.

More precisely "Depression" is a common mental disorder that presents with depressed mood, loss of interest or pleasures, decreased energy, feeling guilt or low self-worth, disturbed sleep or appetite and poor concentration. Moreover, depression often comes with symptoms of anxiety these problems can become chronic or recurrent and lead to substantial impairments in an individual's ability to take care of his or her everyday responsibility.

At its worst, depression can lead to suicide: Almost 1 million lives are lost yearly due to suicide, which translates to 3000 suicide death every day in the world. In lower rate calculation WHO again says that for every 40 seconds one person commit suicide, 20 or more many attempts to end his or her life (WHO, 2012).

A Depressive episode depending on the number and severity of symptoms can be categorized as mild, moderate or severe. An individual with a mild depressive episode will have some difficulty in continuing with ordinary work and social activities, but will probably not to cease to function completely. During a severe depressive episode on the other hand, it is very unlikely that the sufferer will be able to continue with social work or domestic activities except to a very limited extent.

Bipolar affective disorder typically consists of both manic (elated mood) and depressive episodes separated by period of normal mood. Manic episode involve elevated mood and increased energy resulting in over activity, pressure of speech and decreased need of sleep and increased self esteem.

While depression is the leading cause of disability for both males and females, the burden of depression is 50% higher for females than males. In fact, depression is the leading cause of disease burden for women in both high income and low and middle income countries. Research in developing countries suggests that maternal depression may be a risk factor for poor growth in young children. The risk factor could mean that maternal mental health in low income countries may have a substantial influence on growth during childhood, with the effects of depression affecting not only this generation but also the next.

Epidemiological aspects:

Overall prevalence of depression is 17%, fourth as cause of disability worldwide and has projected that may rank second by 2020, more common in females, most common between the ages of 25 and 44 years, second leading cause of death among 15-29 years olds (WHO –update), 43% of sufferer fails to seek help for their symptoms, of these diagnosed two thirds are not prescribed proper and adequate medication and 15-20% of cases run a chronic course.

Common types of depression:

1. Major depression (already discussed); 2. Dysthymia: Symptoms similar to Major depression disorder but less severe and more chronic (continuously at least 2 years in adults & 1 year in case of children), 3. Bipolar Depression (already discussed); 4. Seasonal affective Disorder (SAD): Depression that results from changes in the season; begin in the fall or wake of winter, or when there is decreased in sunlight; depressed mood, increased craving for carbohydrates, rich food; excessive sleep & weight gain and common in Denmark, Norway and Sweden.

Causes of Depression:

Multiple theories: Abnormalities in serotonin, norepinephine and depamin levels in the brain; hormonal dysregulations, cortisol, thyroid hormones etc; genetical vulnerability and stressful life events and family interactions will also contribute to the development of depression.

Miscellaneous special presentations of depression:

(1) Childhood depression:
Children show more symptoms of anxiety (i.e. phobias, separation anxiety), physical vague complaints, hearing of non existing voices (hallucination), express irritability with temper tantrum and behavior problems.

Adolescents shows more sleep and appetite disturbances false beliefs (Delusion), suicidal ideation & acts, with inclination to substance abuse

(2) Post Partum Depression:
Moderate to severe depression after she has given birth may occur soon after delivery or upto a year late. Usually occurs within first 3 months after delivery may occur when the baby blues do not fade away.

(3) Old aged depression: Less verbalization of emotion or guilt; minimize or deny depressed mood ("masked depression); preoccupied with physical symptoms – 65% false belief that some organ or body part has gone something wrong; cognitive impairment (like forgetfulness /memory disturbances) can be marked; hopeless feelings appear to be persistent; depressive ideation, anxiety, psychomotor retardation, weight loss and associated disabilities; false belief and other features of out keeping from reality and associated medical conditions like diabetic, hypertension, heart disease and dementia.

(4) Depression with medical conditions: Diabetic with depression; heart disease with depression; cancer with depression; HIV with depression and Alzheimer disease wit depression.

(5) Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder (New update):
Children with persistent irritability and frequent episodes of extreme behavior dyscontrol are added to the depressive disorders for the age children upto 12 years. They typically develop unipolar depressive disorder or anxiety disorder, rather than bipolar disorders, as they mature into adolescence and adulthood. They are recognized as Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder.

(6) Premenstrual Dysphoric disorder:
It has been confirmed a specific and treatment responsive form of depression disorder that begins sometime following ovulation and remits within a few days of menses and has a marked impact on functioning.

(7) Substance & medical conditions with Depression:
A large number of substances of abuse, some prescribed medication and several medical conditions can be associated with depression like phenomena. This fact is recognized in the diagnosis of substance /medication-induced depressive disorder and depressive disorder due to another medical condition.

Common physical symptoms with/because of Depression:

Unexplained headache; weakness; weight loss or gain; back pain; joint pain; abdominal pain; constipation; indigestion or change in bowel habits


Suicide; alcohols and other substance abuse; decreased treatment adherence to medical therapies; anxiety disorder; heart disease and other medical condition; work or school problems; family conflicts; interpersonal relationship and social isolation;


Depression is a mental disorder that is pervasive in the world and affects us all. Unlike many large scale international problems, a solution for depression is at hand. Efficient and cost effective treatments are available to improve the health and the lives of the millions of people around the world suffering from depression. On an individual, community, and national level, it is time to educate ourselves about depression and support those who are suffering from this mental disorder.

Good news: Depression can be prevented and treated effectively by psychotherapeutic medicines (antidepressants) and other psychological treatment methods like Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT).


Like diabetics and heart disease major depression is a serious medical illness and it is quite common; depression has been associated with both chronic medical and psychiatric conditions; psychological, biological, environmental and genetic factors contribute to its development; depression is often under-diagnosed and undertreated; effective treatments are available and treatment guidelines recommend that antidepressant treatment be continued for a minimum of 4 to 9 months after remission.

Conclusive message:

Depression is a disabling medical mental disease. It can be prevented and treated cost effectively. Psychological and mental health first aid should be provided to an individual who attempts to commit suicide or in mental crisis or distress just like we give first aid to any medical conditions, trauma or injury. We should give psychological & mental health first aid to a patient who is trying to commit suicide by telling him that you are not alone in this world, we all are here for you. So you can not die.

Let us spread the good news that depression can be prevented and treated cost effectively.

* Prof N Heramani Singh wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer is Professor & HOD, Psychiatry Department, RIMS, Imphal and also president of Indian Psychiatric Society Manipur State Branch
This article was posted on April 08, 2017.

* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.

  • Arambai show #2:: Gallery
  • Curtain Raiser of 'Oorja' :: Gallery
  • New Facebook page (Link) for e-pao
  • Are We Protecting Younger Generation?
  • Unconditional :: Poem
  • Koirengei: From airfield to a historical site
  • Aizawl FC: Winner I-League Football 2017
  • Director General Assam Rifles Visits
  • The Killing Fields :: News Timeline
  • Defeating the spirit of 2003 legislation
  • Shakuhachi meets Pena, Manipur & Japan
  • Rally against Phaknung rape :: Gallery
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • MIMS (MU) - ManFete #2 :: Gallery
  • Shirui Festival: Where is it heading
  • 2nd Northeast Fiesta at Jalandhar
  • Partnership between science & spirituality
  • Earning our rights and privileges
  • If press is presstitute then how about them
  • CATA Cine Award :: Gallery
  • Ngaineikim, Lamgoulen, Dilimpou :: eMing
  • Tributes paid on Khongjom Day #2:: Gallery
  • Laishram Birendrakumar recieve Padmashri
  • Position of Women in India
  • A forced load on little angels
  • Involvement of Asian Development Bank
  • Politics of power
  • Modi walking on elusive Naga peace: Book
  • 433 recruits from NE join Delhi Police
  • Kei Onba Kom Gi Eshing :: Funga Wari
  • Sculpture at Ukhrul :: Gallery
  • NEROCA FC Vs Delhi United :: Gallery
  • Folk star Mangka goes global with Cla
  • Exploring pet grooming as career
  • The Shattered Visage :: Poem
  • LTC & travellling settlement
  • Workshop: Sustainable Skill Development
  • Indo-Naga Talks 2017 :: News Timeline
  • Create two separate states out of Manipur
  • Northeast set to boost India's global IT
  • A word of caution for the BJP led Govt
  • For a better society, education is a must
  • April 14 : Another chapter of shame
  • 'Nura Pakhang'(Video) @Portugal:: Gallery
  • DIO inaugurated @Kangpokpi :: Gallery
  • 8th MU Annual Sports Meet #2 :: Gallery
  • The Real Purenba :: Folk Tales
  • Is cleanliness drive another publicity stunt
  • Time zone & daylight saving time for NE
  • Khongjom War observed at Delhi
  • A matter need to be pondered
  • Rongmei tribe recognition..withdraws
  • Seniors ask GoI to move peace process
  • People's Day likely from next month
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand :: Timeline
  • Mr India 2017- Ksh Bhaktakumar :: Gallery
  • MIMS (MU) - ManFete #1 :: Gallery
  • nuja (Nuja) :: Seireng
  • Paper trail of fake encounters in Manipur
  • Food & beverage of Zeliangrong #3
  • Let us switch on the living mode
  • Saying no to non-local appointment
  • Let adopted child knows the truth
  • Purul, Senapati :: 360 View Panorama
  • Play: 'It's a Myth' :: Gallery
  • Floral tributes to PLA 'martyrs' #3:: Gallery
  • Relevance of ecotourism in the real world
  • World Malaria Day: End Malaria for good
  • The Bath :: Poem
  • Peeking through the FA pact
  • Leaking of the secret deal, another trick?
  • Tributes paid on Khongjom Day #1:: Gallery
  • Arm-Wrestling Championship :: Gallery
  • Curses come home to roost
  • Childhood hearing loss/deafness
  • Does India trade deficit with China matter
  • Silent protest against minors gang rape
  • B'pur citizens launch forum for development
  • Yes sir, yes sir syndrome
  • Cheiraoba Thabal @Singjamei:: Gallery
  • TBSFA Veteran Football :: Gallery
  • Saga of Herbert School Hostel
  • Disable for the disable person
  • Manipur : Charting the way forward
  • Uneasy Coexistence :: Poem
  • Assam Rifles Ex-Servicemen Rally
  • Justice Delayed Is Justice Denied
  • Public Relations(PR) Day celebrations
  • Forest authority denies killing tiger
  • Education Minister needs to check
  • Sadar Hills Demand 2011-2017 : Timeline
  • Ethoi Oinam #1 (Actress) :: eRang
  • Angkor Wat , Cambodia #5 :: Gallery
  • Read all about Khongjom Day : History
  • Where Do Manipuris Come From ?
  • WW2 Bridge remain unnoticed by govt
  • I m not born to fulfill parent's dreams
  • 2nd Northeast Fiesta at Jalandhar
  • Filmmaker urged to make socially relevant
  • Bat for more people to people contact
  • Changing trend of journalism
  • Nura Pakhang : Music video
  • Cultural program @Ukhrul #2 :: Gallery
  • puNsi (Punsi) :: Seireng
  • Faith, forgiveness & future
  • Rise of new hopes with BJP in Manipur
  • What is your keyword ?
  • Thanksgiving Function: NE people in Delhi
  • Condemns rape of two school children
  • Govt decision to make hindi compulsory
  • Expectations from the BJP led Govt
  • 6th Kangleipak Kang Trophy #2:: Gallery
  • Floral tributes to PLA 'martyrs' #2:: Gallery
  • Victor Thoudam's It's A Myth :: Synopsis
  • The end of history & Manipur!
  • From Imphal with love
  • License to kill in Manipur
  • Jobs at JCRE Skill Solutions
  • Central Working Committee of TSA
  • Lajong NE Diaries cross 1 Million Views
  • Nagas in Cambodia
  • Addressing VIP culture : No to beacon lights
  • SC judgment to extra-judicial killings
  • Sajibu Cheiraoba @Pune :: Gallery
  • 8th MU Annual Sports Meet #1 :: Gallery
  • Career options after 10 + 2
  • Computerization of land records in Manipur
  • Sajibu Cheiraoba organized at Pune
  • Sattriya Dance: Assam's classical dance
  • Phynyx in Classic Nostalgia at Imphal
  • Beginning of the end of Cong ?
  • Please be serious on road accident
  • Thabal Chongba @Kolkata :: Gallery
  • CM N Biren visit to Ukhrul #2 :: Gallery
  • National Mathematics Day :: Gallery
  • What Ails India's North East? :: Review
  • Commercialization of transgender event
  • Urges Manipur Govt to desist Mapithel dam
  • Mathematics Day at Oriental College
  • Ministers inspect Chandranadi Riverbanks
  • DG IIMC & ADG IIS visit Manipur
  • Manipur duo net London goal
  • Battle of Khongjom : 2 dates for 1 battle
  • Action appreciative, fishy in replacement
  • Governor Trophy Junior Tennis #2 :: Gallery
  • 7th UGC ROP must be Empowering ...
  • Imphal Talkies in my town
  • A new perspective of urban planning
  • The morning dew :: Poem
  • Assam Rifles Ex-servicemen Rally
  • Challenges of heading a coalition Govt
  • Cheirao-chingkaba :: Gallery
  • Tangkhul Dance @Ukhrul #1 :: Gallery
  • 1st People's Day @Jiri :: Gallery
  • Some Canadian Ideas For School Education
  • Manipuri is a classical language
  • NEROCA FC :: Group Photo
  • Dont make it another Publicity stunt
  • Cheiraoba Chak Katpa -Apr 14 :: Gallery
  • Floral tributes to PLA 'martyrs' #1:: Gallery
  • CM Reception @Khwairamband :: Gallery
  • Wanted: Manipur River Protection Force
  • BSNL broadband condition in Tamenglong
  • April Showers - Sketches :: Poem
  • Websites launches on Digital Manipur
  • MHRD-University Ranking: Status of MU
  • Manipuri Sahitya Parishad, Assam met CM
  • Against notice served to Dr. Kamei @JNIMS
  • Manipur Sangai Festival 2016 #4 : Ooba
  • 'Manipur Govinda' (Play) #2 :: Gallery
  • Superstition, oath & ordeal of Koren
  • CM N Biren visit to Ukhrul #1 :: Gallery
  • Shumang Leela Day :: Gallery
  • Yaikhomba Mutum selected at Cambridge
  • Earthern Pottery- Thongjao #1 :: Gallery
  • Trip to Kamjong district :: Gallery
  • Hanubi & Hanuba : Downloadable Folktale
  • Career planning after Class X #2
  • CCMT: MTech Admission at NIT Manipur
  • Thousands welcomed CM in Ukhrul
  • Thoubal Keithel #2 :: Gallery
  • Cheirao-chingkaba [Mar 29] #3 :: Gallery
  • Thabal Chongba @Mysore :: Gallery
  • Nungshiba Khongel @Sylhet :: Gallery
  • Dance movement Takao Kawaguchi's way
  • The man who bridges Manipuri Meiteis...
  • Convention & Nungshiba Khongel at Sylhet
  • Shuri Kaso Phanat (Garlic Fest) :: Gallery
  • Yaoshang Sports #6 (Mar 16) :: Gallery
  • Landslide @Sirarakhong, Ukhrul:: Gallery
  • Meitei Pokpi :: Radio e-pao
  • Arambai Exhibition Show #1:: Gallery
  • Nongmai Kainou Chingsomba #2:: Gallery
  • Cheiraoba Chak Katpa [Mar 29] #2:: Gallery
  • Last rites of Sunder Gopal :: Gallery
  • Manipur raiding Burma (1600 - 1850)
  • Cheirao-chingkaba [Mar 29] #2 :: Gallery
  • Trip to Tamu, Myanmar #1: Gallery
  • Hangmila Shaiza: First Woman MLA
  • Featured Photo for 2017 #1 :: Gallery
  • Maphou Dam :: 360 View Panorama
  • Landscape of Manipur #5: Wallpaper