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

Mental Health Action Plan 2013-2020

The action plan recognizes the essential role of mental health in achieving health for all people. It aims to achieve equity through universal health coverage and stresses the importance of prevention.

Integrating the response to mental health disorders and other chronic diseases in health care systems

Strong links exist between mental disorders and other chronic diseases, not only with respect to their causes and consequences, but also in terms of their prevention and management.

Innovation in deinstitutionalization: a WHO expert survey

A WHO expert survey to identify principles and actions for expanding community-based mental health services, and/or to downsize institution-based care.

Social determinants of mental health

This paper highlights effective actions that can be taken to reduce risk of mental disorders throughout the life course, both at the community level and country level.

WHO MIND Project