Coronavirus versus depression

Coronavirus versus depression – which is humanity’s greatest threat today?

Here are my thoughts.

What are our government leaders doing to quash humanity’s latest threat, the Coronavirus?

Well, based upon the news reports that I’ve read it seems to me as though they are serious about containing and suppressing the Coronavirus.

There has been a new hospital built in a matter of days, quarantine centres set up, scientists engaged, and travel restrictions imposed.

I’m relieved to see this level of action and genuine intention, but my question is, “why are other more debilitating conditions (like the alarming global spread of depression) being ignored”?

Depression represents a far greater long-term threat to humanity!

Yet surprisingly little action is being taken!

For example, a World Health Assembly resolution passed in May 2013 called for a comprehensive, coordinated response to mental disorders at the country level. But I can’t see any evidence of action or improvement where I live, can you? 

The World Health Organisation (WHO) predicts that depression will be the number one health concern above all by 2030. But the full extent of the problem is yet unknown. The one clear thing is that low self-esteem and depression in children have significantly increased over the past decade.

If the spread of depression is allowed to continue unchecked, the number of depressed children & adults will continue to rise. The cost to humanity will far outweigh the cost of any viral epidemic witnessed so far.

For example, there was a virus in 2002-2003 that caused SARS killing 916 people. In contrast, close to 800,000 people die due to suicide every year.

While I applaud government action to rid us of the Coronavirus, I condemn their apparent apathy to curb the spread of depression.

Key facts about depression – The World Health Organisation (WHO)

  • Globally, more than 264 million people of all ages suffer from depression
  • Depression is a leading cause of disability worldwide and is a major contributor to the overall global burden of disease
  • More women are affected by depression than men
  • Depression can lead to suicide
  • Suicide is the second leading cause of death in 15-29-year-olds

Although there are known, effective treatments for mental disorders, up to 85% of people receive no treatment.

Current barriers to effective care include:

  • A lack of resources
  • A lack of trained health-care providers
  • Inaccurate assessment. (In countries of all income levels, people who are depressed are often not correctly diagnosed, and others who do not have depression are too often misdiagnosed and prescribed antidepressants).

Proven prevention programmes include: 

  • School-based programmes to enhance a pattern of positive thinking in children and adolescents.
  • Interventions for parents of children with behavioural problems may reduce parental depressive symptoms as well as improve outcomes for their children.

More media attention can help!

It seems that the threat of death from catching a disease and the high-profile global media attention given to viruses influence governments to take immediate noticeable action. After all, governments cannot be seen to be ignoring the health of their citizens!

However, it seems to me that our governments do appear to be mostly ignoring their people’s emotional well-being and mental health!

The Coronavirus beast has just got out! Perhaps it could have been prevented through tighter controls, but for some unlucky people, it’s already too late. Similarly, tighter controls will help to keep people safe from depression.

Where there is the will, there is the way!

Imagine a world where building self-confidence and raising self-esteem is embedded within the curriculum of every school. A world where school inspectors evaluate each school’s performance based on the level of pupil self-esteem and confidence as well as their academic attainment.

I know that a solution like the above is an enormous undertaking and that it could take years to realise. But then again, the Chinese have just built a hospital in 10 days!

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