Health ministry launches campaign under theme “depression: let’s talk”

The year-long global campaign on depression aims to build awareness and encourage persons to seek help.

The Ministry of Health and Wellness along with the World Health Organization will be leading a one-year global campaign on depression.

The campaign is part of the observance of World Health Day 2017, held under the theme “Depression: Let’s Talk.”

Senior Medical Officer in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Sharon Belmar-George, said the objective of the campaign is to strengthen capacity and build awareness.

“We aim to reduce depression and to encourage persons suffering from depression to seek help and to get help,” she said. “This theme is extremely timely for us in Saint Lucia. As we know, depression affects not only elderly persons but those in all age groups.

“When we look at every case of suicide that we’ve had, there was somebody who saw something was different [about the victim], so we need to get back to the stage where we look after our neighbor, we look out for each other, and we look out for our colleagues. And it’s not just the Ministry of Health, but every individual in every single community. We need to support each other as we reduce the impact of depression.”

The Minister for Health and Wellness, Sen. Hon. Mary Isaac, said the stigma of depression prevents individuals from seeking and accessing treatment and care.

“When families have people suffering from depression or mental illness they tend to hide the fact that the person has a disorder. But think of the negative impact of what it could manifest into later if you do not attend to it when you should.”

The global campaign on depression was launched Friday, April 7, at a ceremony at the National Mental Wellness Centre.

Persons seeking help for depression can call the helpline at 203.

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