By the year 2030, ‘Depression’ is Projected to Be The Biggest Burden on Health in the World!

*** Note: Please make sure to click on the link at the bottom of this blog to see how you can help! ***

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), depression will be the single biggest burden on health in the world by 2030.  People with depression normally have several of the following: a loss of energy; a change in appetite; sleeping more or less; anxiety; reduced concentration; indecisiveness; restlessness; feelings of worthlessness, guilt, or hopelessness; and thoughts of self-harm or suicide. 

WHO has identified that depression has strong links to other disorders and diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and raises the risk for substance abuse. Depression is also an important risk factor for suicide, which claims hundreds of thousands of lives a year. More than 800,000 people die by suicide a year. It is the leading cause of death in the 15 -19 year-old age group, and the second leading cause of death in the 20-34 year-old age group.

On December 7th, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy issued a new Surgeon General’s Advisory to highlight the urgent need to address the nation’s youth mental health crisis. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, mental health challenges were the leading cause of disability and poor life outcomes in young people, with up to 1 in 5 children ages 3 to 17 in the U.S. having a mental, emotional, developmental, or behavioral disorder. Additionally, from 2009 to 2019, the number of high school students who reported persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness increased by 40%, to more than 1 in 3 students. Suicidal behaviors among high school students also increased during the decade preceding COVID, with 19% seriously considering attempting suicide, a 36% increase from 2009 to 2019, and about 16% having made a suicide plan in the prior year, a 44% increase from 2009 to 2019. Between 2007 and 2018, suicide rates among youth ages 10-24 in the U.S. increased by 57%, – PDF and early estimates show more than 6,600 suicide deaths – PDF among this age group in 2020. The pandemic added to the pre-existing challenges that America’s youth faced. This Fall, a coalition of the nation’s leading experts in pediatric health declared a national emergency. https://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2021/12/07/us-surgeon-general-issues-advisory-on-youth-mental-health-crisis-further-exposed-by-covid-19-pandemic.html

What Can We Do to Help?

With this information, you might ask, “What can I do?”  The good news is that you can actually do a great deal. The answer is to let your legislators know we must have a “Moonshot for Mental Health”, just like we did for cancer research 50 years ago! We need far more funding for mental health research so that we can get to the biological root causes of mental health diseases. In this way, we can develop new effective treatments and cures with the aim of treating people who are predisposed to mental health conditions early on so that these conditions don’t advance to serious levels. Just think of the advances we’ve made with cancer. Can’t we do the same with the most important organ in our body, our brain?

Funding for mental health research is far below funding for other conditions. This must change.

We CAN make a difference.  In fact, WE are the only ones who can.  Let’s change the forecast for 2030. “Moonshot for Mental Health!”

**** Please take a few minutes to write to your legislators.  If you wish, a sample letter is provided for your use, as well as contact information for your state legislators.  Please click on the following link for the letter and contact information for your legislators. ****

Thank you!

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