Basseterre, St. Kitts, April 7, 2017 (SKNIS): The Honourable Senator Wendy Phipps, Junior Minister of Health, in her address to the nation in commemoration of World Health Day 2017, celebrated on April 7 annually, underscored the importance of this year’s theme, “Depression: Let’s Talk.” Senator Phipps noted that depression is a form of mental illness. There are presently 350 million people worldwide that suffer from depression according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

In her address she explained that the WHO is implementing a year-long campaign centered on persons suffering from depression. The Senator went on to say that “This is a lofty, yet necessary ambition of the WHO given that depression is the leading cause of ill health and disability worldwide.”

“Simply put, depression is a form of mental illness,” said Senator Phipps, as she began to list some of its characteristics which include prolonged sadness, anxiety, lack of sleep and indecision among others.

Minister Phipps further stated that, “ It is important to note that depression can happen to anyone, it respects no one, neither is it dependent on socio-economic status, race, creed or gender.” She also explained that depression is a treatable condition, if given the right attention.

Mental illness is high on the agenda for the Ministry of Health as it is assiduously working to implement different programs such as the soon-to-open Mental Health Day Clinic to assist persons in need.

During her address, Minister Phipps also encouraged citizens and residents to live healthy lifestyles. “May God bless the people of St. Kitts and Nevis as we commit ourselves to promoting healthy and positive lifestyles for the benefit of present and future generations. Let us remember that an essential part of wellness is good mental health,” she stated.