In 1948, the WHO held the First World Health Assembly. The Assembly decided to celebrate 7 April of each year, with effect from 1950, as the World Health Day
Depression is a major challenge to health in the WHO European Region and is the focus of World Health Day 2017. The theme “Depression: let’s talk” recognizes that depression is a treatable condition and seeks to address the fact that, despite this, about 50% of cases of major depression still go untreated. The high personal, social and economic costs and the large proportion of people who are not receiving any treatment, despite the availability of cheap and effective care, underscore the importance of overcoming this challenge.
For example, since 2008 England has significantly increased the provision of evidence-based talking therapy to people with depression and anxiety through a large-scale programme called “Improving access to psychological therapies”, available through the National Health Service. By 2012 the programme had treated more than 1 million people, of whom 680 000 completed the full course of treatment. The recovery rates of the 680 000 people were consistently above 45%, as was expected from the research evidence.
The theme of World Health Day 2017 was announced on 10 October 2016, World Mental Health Day. The campaign website contains a wide range of materials and background information.