World Health Day 7 April — living with a black dog

By Australian Hospital + Healthcare Bulletin Staff
Friday, 07 April, 2017

I had a black dog

World Health Day is celebrated on 7 April every year to mark the anniversary of the founding of the World Health Organization. This day provides a unique opportunity to raise awareness and mobilise action around a specific health topic of concern to people all over the world.

The theme of  2017 World Health Day campaign, Depression: let’s talk, reflects the fact that talking with people you trust can be a first step towards recovery from depression. This theme recognises that depression is a treatable condition and seeks to address the fact that, despite this, about 50% of cases of major depression still go untreated.

In Australia, 3 million people are living with anxiety or depression.

Depression impacts on people’s ability to carry out even the simplest everyday tasks, with sometimes devastating consequences for relationships with family and friends and the ability to earn a living. At worst, depression can lead to suicide, now the second leading cause of death among 15- to 29-year-olds.

To reduce the stigma around depression, education around what depression is, and how it can be prevented and treated, will help people to understand more about the condition and lead more people to seek help.

‘I had a black dog’ video tells the story of writer and illustrator Matthew Johnstone’s depression and how he overcame it. It was produced by Matthew, in collaboration with the World Health Organization, and can be viewed here.

Image from illustrator Matthew Johnstone, WHO.

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