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'Depressing' forecast

Siteri Sauvakacolo
Thursday, June 12, 2014

THE World Health Organization has projected that by 2020, the world's second largest sickness will be depression.

And as a result, the Ministry of Health is working hard to tackle the issue by getting more Fijians to understand that the sickness can be healed at an early stage.

National adviser non-communicable diseases Dr Isimeli Tukana said Fiji needed a mind-set change and it was time everyone worked together to address the issue.

"WHO has told us that in 2020, depression will be the second most common sickness in the world and the ministry is looking at the issue seriously," Dr Tukana said.

"What we are saying is if people are coming with mental disorders this much, then the depression and distress is big and it doesn't take overnight to de-stress so there are many cases here in the country.

"Again, Fiji is in an NCD crisis so those with amputations, heart attacks, stroke, it will definitely affect their thinking and this is why I am saying that this is the whole area of mental health."

Dr Tukana said Fijians should have a better idea of the food and drinks they consumed so their bodies were not badly affected.

He said once part of the body was affected, it could affect the way a person thinks, leading possibly to depression.

"We ask those who need mental counselling to take advantage of organisations available like Empower Pacific and Youths Champs for Mental Health, which can help them overcome these problems.

"I feel there are a lot of people in society who are under stress and anxiety and need help. There is even an increase in the number of people walking on the streets of Suva talking to them."

Dr Tukana said the WHO projected that in six years time, heart attacks would be the number one killer, followed by depression, and injuries and violence.


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