During the launch of “We don’t beat depression with words”, the new Janssen Italy campaign, it has been demonstrated that 1 out of 4 people during his own lifetime suffers from mental disorders. The Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson seek to shed light on a disease that even now is not widely understood and very often is underestimated as much from sick people as their relatives. When we talk about depression we refer to a mood disorder that compromises personal and social mode of operation. This is linked to emotional, cognitive, behavioural and somatic symptoms.
It is important to highlight that depression is a real illness and it should not be confused with temporary sadness or demoralization: 300 million people all over the world suffer from it, 40 million in Europe, more than 3 million in Italy. The USA is the country the most damaged, with 15 million people suffering from depression, mainly teenagers between ages 13 and 19. Young rappers dying for suicide or overdose are the proof of this, as their deaths are caused by depression for having reached success in a short time, as well as the feeling of being under pressure in order to demonstrate their qualities (e.g. Lil Peep, Pop Smoke, XXX Tentacion, Juice WRLD).
According to the World Health Organization, depression is one of the main causes of disability in the world and it has a high unsatisfied therapeutic need. Suffice it to say that, worldwide, only 1 out of 4 people suffering from major depression receives prompt and opportune therapies after the diagnosis, which in itself is already complicated. About half of the patients has to wait more than 3 months in order to have access to psychological therapies and 10% waits about more than one year for a verification. During this waiting time, in absence of appropriate treatments, 40% of people self-harm and 1 patient out of 6 attempts suicide. Even if it could seem indiscreet, it is important to calculate the costs related to the disease in order to understand its impact on our society. The economic impacts of depression are constantly growing: in 2007, the costs amounted to 136,3 billion euros in the European Economic Area, about 307 euros per every inhabitant. These costs are divided into 37 billion for direct health spending and into 99,3 billion of potential lost productivity, calculated on the basis of the number of lost work days for every depression episode.
In Italy, in particular, the direct annual average cost per patient suffering from depression is 4.913 euros. This increases to 5.555 euros for more than 130 thousand Italians suffering from forms of illness that resist treatment.
When our loved ones are going through difficult situations we usually motivate them with a few words like “you have to fight”, “everything will be better” and so on. This is absolutely right and is a sign of authentic feelings, but one thing is certain when depression hides behind sadness: even the kindest words of encouragement cannot be enough to face the problem, because a disease needs a certain medical treatment.
Actually, the most effective therapy to fight this social scourge is easy and almost trivial: to make little efforts, but every day and step by step. It is important to try to smile a certain number of time per day and to hug a beloved one once a day. With a strong willpower people can reach unexpected results, but it is important not to give in when running into difficulties because, contrary to what people think, depression is a real disease.