Mental health

Depression

Artwork by R. Aragno

Depression is a common mental disorder, characterized by sadness, loss of interest or pleasure, feelings of guilt or low self-worth, disturbed sleep or appetite, feelings of tiredness, and poor concentration.

Depression can be long-lasting or recurrent, substantially impairing an individual’s ability to function at work or school or cope with daily life. At its most severe, depression can lead to suicide. When mild, people can be treated without medicines but when depression is moderate or severe they may need medication and professional talking treatments.

Depression is a disorder that can be reliably diagnosed and treated by non-specialists as part of primary health care. Specialist care is needed for a small proportion of individuals with complicated depression or those who do not respond to first-line treatments.

General

Technical information

World Mental Health Day 2012

Related links

Latest publications

mhGAP Humanitarian Intervention Guide (mhGAP-HIG)

This guide contains first-line management recommendations for mental, neurological and substance use conditions for non-specialist health-care providers. It is a simple, practical tool to support general health facilities in areas affected by humanitarian emergencies.

Thinking healthy

This manual outlines an evidence-based approach describing how community health workers can reduce prenatal depression through evidence-based cognitive-behavioural techniques recommended by the mhGAP programme.

WHO MIND Project