On 7 April, the World Health Organisation (WHO) designated it to be World Health Day (WHD), a day where we address subjects and things that might be plaguing the world – whether physically or psychologically. WHD has become an event centred around increasing people’s awareness and has tackled multiple subjects such as Food Safety, AIDs and Diabetes.
But WHD wasn’t always a thing. The idea behind this event was conceived back in 1947 when the recently created WHO held its first World Health Assembly. The day exists as a way to celebrate the WHO but quickly became a day dedicated to talking and teaching people about health concerns that go on around the world.
Thanks to WHD, we’ve been able to talk about different health concerns and subjects that plague the world over the years. For example, in 2014, the day was focused on diseases transmitted by insects such as mosquitoes. That year saw the spread of chikungunya in South America, which affected millions of people across the continent and its effects are said to last for even decades after a person has been treated.
Similarly, 2016’s World Health Day talked about the subject of Diabetes and its increasing prevalence throughout the world. The WHO used the opportunity to discuss about the world’s current diets and how it’s affecting low and middle-income countries, leading to issues such as heart problems or obesity.
This year is no different. The subject for this year’s World Health Day is on the mental illness – Depression. The talk comes at a time in which depression has become one of the leading causes of suicide and mental problems all over the world, and by bringing it to the forefront, the WHO aims to talk about what causes depression and the effects it can have.
It’s important to talk about depression as it simply “feeling sad” as a lot of people believe; it affects its sufferers physically and even their ability to work. Moreover, it is hard for family, friends and co-workers to sympathise as it is a disease without a physical appearance and often labelled as being “moody”. Thus, it further prevents those suffering from depression to talk about their feelings, usually due to fear of coming off as attention seekers.
In Singapore, the WHO is holding a talk in Tampines Singhealth Polyclinic where they will discuss the subject of depression as part of World Health Day. This conversation is definitely important because it helps educate everyone and hopefully, people will be more empathetic and understand that depression is an illness and not a passing emotion.
If you want to learn more about World Health Day and what you can do to help then make sure to visit their website. After all, this is a day meant to remind us that it’s up to us to stay informed and help make the world a better place in any way we can.
Photo Credits: IOGT International, Playmob, World Health Organization