Alessandro Bazzoni: Depression is the new global pandemic

Depression and anxiety are now a new global pandemic that we are going to have to face during the next years.

Because of the impact that COVID-19 has in our lives, depression cases are raising and the impact that this will have in young adults is yet to be seen, explains the psychologist Alessandro Bazzoni which works as Health Director in ASL Roma 1.

According to Healthline, major depressive disorder affects around 16.2 million adults in the United States. This number represents 6.7% of the entire American population of adults and shows how this problem needs to be put on the front page in order to give people more ways to battle against it and overcome it.

However, the global pandemic situation made this problem an even bigger one. The isolation, the anxiety and the lack of connection to other human beings is having a toll on us and we have to take actions before going into a black hole in which you can’t see the exit.

If we move to worldwide data, the problem looks like unsolvable. The World Health Organization (WHO), reflects on its website that 264 million people worldwide suffer from depression, which turns it into a common mental disorder.

The problem with depression is that it can heavily affect our daily lives. Depending of the level of it, it can become a wall between you and your work, your family, your loved one, and more. Tearing down that wall might need the help of psychological and pharmacological treatments, but these are necessary to go back to regular routine.

If depression is not treated, this is known to be one of the most common causes of suicide, which has some worrying numbers too. The WHO shows that “close to 800 000 people die due to suicide every year. Suicide is the second leading cause of death in 15-29-year-olds.”

This is why it is important to raise awareness and to show that it is possible to overcome this situation and go back to regular routine after an intense treatment. Most people believe they are immune to depression; however, it is very likely that you either experienced depression already or you will in your late life.

Depression also goes hand by hand with anxiety. Anxiety is affecting more people than depression is, with a total of 284 million people worldwide, according to the organization called Our World in Data.

Now, mental diseases can have many causes. One of them is the result of complex interaction of social, psychological and biological factors. People who have gone through adverse life events is more likely to develop this mental disorder. As you can see, nobody is completely safe from depression and that’s why it becomes so hard to beat.

Recently, there has been an increase in the necessity to raise awareness about this issue. This need comes from the awful results in terms of suicide, which is the worst-case scenario. However, the campaigns around the world that asks for people suffering from depression to look for help before doing something crazy are on the rise and having a good impact.

It is a constant battle between a hard daily life and worldwide conditions the ones that can increase our susceptibility to be depressed.

Let’s talk more about the worst-case scenario… suicide.

Key facts of suicide

Did you know that suicide is the third leading cause of death in 15-19-year-olds? This worrying key fact shows how badly we need to raise awareness and prevent kids from thinking that the only way out of depression is suicide.

According to the World Health Organization, 79% of global suicides occur in low- and middle-income countries and methods may vary. For every suicide there are many more people who attempt suicide every year.

That’s why a prior suicide attempt is the single most important risk factor for suicide in the general population.

It is also important to say that many of these events happen impulsively in moments of crisis with a breakdown in the ability to deal with life stresses, such as financial problems, relationship break-up or chronic pain and illness.

Being involved with impulsivity, this increases the need to have toll-free hotlines with experienced professionals that people having mental breakdowns can talk to.

Ways to prevent and control suicide

There are many ways we can prevent suicide on a depressed person. It is vital that we realize how important is our role into this so we can take actions.

For example, reducing the access to the means of suicide is one. If you own a firearm in a house with a depressed person, make sure it is safe and out-of-reach. The same treatment for medication that can be used for this purpose.

For schools, it is important to have interventions and to maintain constant communication with kids about their needs and any other problem they might have.

It is very important to also highlight awareness about how vital our mental health is in every stage of our lives and looking for help in times of need.

A problem rising more by the day

Another important thing to discuss is how this problem has been on the rise for quite some time now. Between 1990 and 2013, the number of people with depression rose by almost half, from 426 million to 615 million.

The psychologist Alessandro Bazzoni explains that having a stigma about this situation makes things more complicated for people to look for help. That’s why it is important to understand how big this disorder is and how it can affect everyone. Sadly, nobody is safe from experiencing depression.

Do you or somebody you know needs help related to depression, anxiety or suicide? Make sure you have the necessary numbers to prevent situations that can resolve in death.

Talk to your family, your friends or a specialist and you will see how this disorder can be treated. You can have a normal life; you just need help to achieve it.

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