"However, people have now started talking about these issues, leading to greater awareness", he said while addressing a summit.
It is estimated that more than 300 million people worldwide are now living with depression, which is an invisible illness.
The global body observed World Health Day on April 7 with the theme of "Depression: Let's talk".
Today, on World Health Day, the World Health Organisation (WHO) is calling on individuals and communities to speak out about depression and to fight the stigma surrounding it. Recent data from the World Health Organization found that depression rates have climbed 18 percent in the last decade.
Depression is a common mental illness characterised by persistent sadness and a loss of interest in activities that people normally enjoy, accompanied by an inability to carry out daily activities, for 14 days or longer.
Depression can also lead to suicide, which is the second highest cause of death among 15-29 year olds in the region, noted WHO. Yet, depression can be prevented and treated.
The theme for this year is Depression: Let's talk. The above underscores the importance of overcoming this challenge.
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More often than not, people with depression are stereotyped in the same way.
Medicare helps cover outpatient and inpatient mental health care, as well as partial hospitalization and screenings for depression. We also shall continue to strive towards the promotion of healthier standards of living and the implementation of programmes that enhance health indices of the society, particularly those of youth.
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. The World Health Organisation in its new global health estimates on depression for 2015 said while over five crore Indians suffered from depression, over three crore others suffered from anxiety disorders.
The National Institute of Mental Health defines depression (major depressive disorder or clinical depression) as a common but serious mood disorder.
However, a lack of understanding means people with the condition face social and economic disadvantages and fail to seek medical help.
"The total number of people living with depression in the world is 322 million. We encourage patients to book an appointment with their local health centre should they need to discuss general well-being", said Dr Fatema Mohammed Musa, Head of Service Development at PHCC.