CBS Local – In recent years mental health awareness has risen, especially when it comes to depression. The World Health Organization says that the disease ‘tops the list of causes of ill health.’

A lot of the country still views depression, and other mental health issues, through an antiquated lens.

“The continuing stigma associated with mental illness was the reason why we decided to name our campaign Depression: let’s talk,” said Shekhar Saxena, Director of the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse at WHO. “For someone living with depression, talking to a person they trust is often the first step towards treatment and recovery.”

Depression is clinically defined as persistent sadness and a loss of interest in activities that are normally enjoyed, as well as an inability to carry out daily tasks, for 14 days or longer. Some symptoms include a loss of energy, loss of appetite, anxiety, guilt, hopelessness and thoughts of self harm.

In high income countries, like the United States, WHO figures that about half the cases of depression go untreated.

“These new figures are a wake-up call for all countries to re-think their approaches to mental health and to treat it with the urgency that it deserves,” said Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General.