Time for united action on depression

The Lancet: Overlooked and underfunded experts call for united action to reduce the global burden of depression

The world is failing to tackle the persisting and increasingly serious global crisis of depression it is facing, according to a Lancet and World Psychiatric Association Commission on depression, which calls for a whole-of-society response to reducing the global burden of depression.

The Commission ‘Time for united action on depression’ calls for concerted and collaborative efforts by governments, healthcare providers, researchers, people living with depression, and their families to improve care and prevention, fill knowledge gaps, and increase awareness to tackle one of the leading causes of avoidable suffering and premature death worldwide. It is authored by 25 experts from 11 countries spanning disciplines from neuroscience to global health and advised by people with experience of depression.

Through their programme of Commissions, The Lancet editors work with academic partners to identify the most pressing issues in science, medicine, and global health, with the aim of providing recommendations that change health policy or improve practice.

Recognising depression as a central yet neglected global health problem led to the creation of this Commission. This Commission has a mandate to present a unifying and balanced view of the available evidence on these and other core questions, also indicating the grey areas and knowledge gaps requiring further research.

The Commission hopes that their content will advance discussions around mental health policy and advocacy on a global level. It is actively engaged with relevant organisations such as United for Global Mental Health, the WHO, WONCA, Orygen Australia, Friendship Zimbabwe, and the Office of the Surgeon General of the United States.

The Commission puts forward recommendations for action by four primary stakeholders: the general community and people with the lived experience of depression; practitioners who can prevent and treat depression; researchers who lead scientific endeavours to reduce the burden of depression; and decision-makers who design policies and finance their implementation.

Director of IMPACT and co-author of The Lancet publication, Prof Michael Berk said, “our team at IMPACT focus on Mental Health research that leads to real-world treatments for people living with mental health disorders.” Collaborating with colleagues across the world, Prof Berk said, 

“my team aim to promote concerted and united action to reduce the burden of depression and ensure that greater attention is paid to the millions of people who live with it across the globe.”

– Prof Michael Berk

Read the full commission on The Lancet website here.

Watch the launch recording here.

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