World Mental Health Day is commemorated annually on October 10th. This day is dedicated to raising awareness about mental health issues and promoting mental well-being on a global scale. Its primary objective is to underscore the significance of mental health and to mobilize efforts to support mental health education, awareness, and advocacy.

The theme for World Mental Health Day 2023 is ‘Mental Health is a Universal Human Right.’

World Mental Health Day serves as a means to raise awareness and foster understanding about mental health concerns. It aims to combat the stigma associated with mental health, encourage open dialogues regarding mental well-being, and provide education to individuals and communities about mental health’s potential impact on people’s lives. Additionally, it aims to inform people about the available resources for seeking assistance and support.

Observing World Mental Health Day intends to break down the barriers surrounding mental health, promote a more compassionate society, and ensure that mental health receives the attention and recognition it deserves. It also offers an opportunity to discuss the mental health challenges that many individuals encounter, such as depression.

Depression is a mental health condition characterized by persistent feelings of sadness, worthlessness, hopelessness, and a diminished interest or pleasure in daily activities. It can significantly disrupt a person’s ability to function in their daily life and may manifest through various physical and emotional symptoms. Here, we outline some of the early signs of depression.

Identifying early signs of depression can aid in recognizing the condition. These signs may include:

  1. Sustained feelings of sadness or emptiness: Depression often presents as persistent low mood or enduring feelings of emptiness that linger for extended periods, spanning weeks or months.
  2. Loss of interest or pleasure in activities: Individuals grappling with depression may lose interest in activities they once enjoyed, including hobbies, social interactions, or even basic daily tasks.
  3. Changes in appetite and weight: Depression can lead to alterations in appetite, resulting in significant weight loss or gain, even in the absence of deliberate dietary changes.
  4. Sleep disturbances: Sleep problems are commonplace in depression, with individuals experiencing either insomnia (difficulty falling or staying asleep) or hypersomnia (excessive sleepiness).
  5. Fatigue or lack of energy: Feeling consistently fatigued, drained, or devoid of energy, regardless of a full night’s sleep, is a characteristic symptom of depression.
  6. Difficulty concentrating: Depression can hinder a person’s ability to focus, make decisions, and retain information, impacting their professional or academic performance.
  7. Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or hopelessness: Individuals with depression often grapple with persistent negative thoughts, feelings of guilt or worthlessness, and a pervasive sense of hopelessness concerning the future.
  8. Irritability or excessive anger: Depression may manifest as heightened irritability, a short temper, or unexplained bursts of anger, even in response to minor issues.
  9. Withdrawal from social interactions: People experiencing depression may isolate themselves, avoid social engagements, and withdraw from contact with friends, family, and loved ones.
  10. Recurring thoughts of death or suicide: Persistent contemplation of death, dying, or suicide is a grave warning sign of depression, necessitating immediate attention and intervention.

It is vital to acknowledge that experiencing some of these signs does not automatically indicate the presence of depression, as everyone may have occasional off days. Nevertheless, if these symptoms endure for a duration of two weeks or more and substantially disrupt daily functioning, it is advisable to seek professional assistance for a comprehensive evaluation and diagnosis.

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