Depression is the leading cause of disability in the world.

The World Health Organisation has released a report that claims over 320 million people worldwide are suffering depression, with a similar number crippled by anxiety disorders. This amounts to around 40 percent of all illness (by contrast, strokes, cancer, heart disease and diabetes together account for 20 percent). Almost half of these are in Asia; India and China alone account for 100 million cases, but most of them are either never recognised, or hidden as guilty family secrets.

This article published in the South China Morning Post suggests declining mental health is by far the world’s gravest medical challenge.

In Hong Kong, this challenge is exacerbated by the exceptional stigma which makes mental health an “untouchable” subject.

The 2014 Mental Morbidity Survey suggested that one in six Hong Kong people are suffering depression or other mental health disorders. That is more than 1 million people with half the number of mental health professionals to serve them when compared with other cities in developed economies. These statistics are potentially grossly understated given the cultural reluctance to acknowledge or share mental health challenges.

Recent work in the WHO and the UK’s Mental Health Taskforce notes that the roots of mental health are well established in childhood. It is estimated that half of all mental health problems have been established by the age of 14, and 75 per cent by the age of 24.

While a diagnosis of depression in childhood is rare, the rate increases exponentially in adolescence. Research suggests 20% of adolescents experience depressive symptoms or a major depressive disorder during this vulnerable phase of life. The ratio of female to male experience is 2:1, and this bias continues into adulthood.

Depression can be more difficult for others to understand than illnesses such as high cholesterol or diabetes. In this video, Helen M. Farrell examines the symptoms and treatments of depression and gives some tips for how to help someone who is suffering.

There has never been a more critical time to celebrate and create nurturing mentorship experiences for children and adolescents, through connection and with compassion, collectively.
Welcome to The Collective Journey.

The Royal Family are stepping into a mentorship role with mental health. In this video they explore how connection and having compassion for self and others has helped them through their personal experience with grief and the journey of parenthood.

Open conversations around mental health help reduce stigma and can lead to more people seeking the support they need to embrace or overcome their illness.  Whether you're Royalty or not, open up to a conversation about mental health today.

Melissa Shadforth