Monrovia – Depression is said to be on the increase in Liberia and the World Health Organization (WHO) has said it is due to the lack of post-war counseling and the effects of the Ebola Virus Disease.
Liberia’s chief medical officer, Dr. Francis Katteh, said calculations shows that there are over one million depressive people living in Liberia.
Liberia has an estimated population of four million. According to the WHO, there are about 322 million people around the world who are affected by depression, which is also said to be the leading cause of disability worldwide. According to Dr. Katteh, the Ebola Virus Disease has reawakened the traumatic problem caused by the 14 years civil unrest. The Chief Medical Officer advised that the early a depressed person is taken to a health center the better it would be for the recovery of such person.
He added that Ministry of Health and Carter Center have trained health workers to deal with such problem.
Also speaking, the Country Representative of WHO Dr. Alex Gessasira called on countries to support mental health programs by allocating adequate human and financial resources to respond to the growing burden that world faces.
"I appeal to member states to include mental health in their national health agenda. WHO is committed to support countries to address depression as an important public health problem," Dr. Gessasira said.
According to the WHO Country Representative, developing community-based services that would focus on depression and talk out against stigma will encourage more people to seek treatment.
"This can be done by having conversations about depression, the same way we do with any other diseases".
He added: "Individuals, families, caregivers and communities can take steps to help prevent depression by avoiding stressful situations, alcohol abuse, and drug
use. Depression is preventable and treatable if diagnosed early." Depression can lead you to suicide, which is the second leading cause of death in 15 to 29 year olds globally. Depression varies by age, in adults aged 55 to 74 years, but also occurring in children and adolescents. Left untreated, depression can be recurrent, long-lasting and debilitating.
It impairs an individual’s ability to cope with daily activities and can have devastating consequences for relationships with families and friends.