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Focus on depression

6 April 2017

This year, the WHO dedicates World Health Day (7th April 2017) to Depression.

It’s not easy to talk about. And yet more and more people around the world are bringing depression into conversations around health and wellbeing.

Why? Because according to the World Health Organization (WHO), 350 million people around the world suffer from depression. And depression-related suicide is now the 2nd leading cause of death for young people aged 15-29 years old.

That’s why World Health Day 2017 is dedicated to raising awareness and support for the millions of people around the world, and their loved ones, living with this illness. 

What is Depression?

Depression feels different for everyone, and there are also different clinical types of depression.  It’s more than feeling sad or blue. It’s a medical illness with both physical and emotional symptoms.

What causes depression?

There are many popular misconceptions about depression. In fact, the exact cause of depression isn't fully understood, with evidence suggesting a combination of several contributing factors rather than a single process or event. 

Can depression be prevented?

Unfortunately, there’s no sure way to prevent depression. Yet evidence points to a possible link between depression and factors affecting physical health, such as cardiovascular disease.

What's more, different kinds of preventive programmes have shown promise, such as those involving positive thinking and exercise. So keeping the body as healthy as possible can potentially help the mind ward off depression, reduce its severity and better manage symptoms. This means committing to a healthy diet, keeping physically active and being mindful of lifestyle choices.

At Cigna we strongly believe in preventing illness through health and wellbeing. That’s why we offer a wide range of health and wellbeing services. One example is the Employee Assistance Programme where members can anonymously call a team of specialists for support and advice on various topics including mental health.

Did you know?

  • 1 in 6 adults will suffer from some form of depression in their lifetime.
  • Depression is more common among women than men.
  • People who have gone through adverse life events (unemployment, bereavement, psychological trauma) are more likely to develop depression.


Depression. World Health Association. Visited 21 February 2017
What is Depression? American Psychiatric Association. Visited 21 February 2017
Depression. National Institute of Mental Health. Visited 21 February 2017.
What causes depression? Harvard Health Publications. Visited 21 February 2017 
World Health Organization, 2017