In Mexico, between 6 and 7 in 10 people have suffered bouts of depression, experts say it is already a public health problem.

In 2008, Ileana Micu Petra, Mental Health Specialist, Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine UNAM warned that by 2020, depression would become the leading cause of morbibilidad in Mexico, because at least 40% of the population has suffered a severe episode with pictures that required specialized medical attention.


In 2001 and within the framework of World Health Day, the President of the World Psychiatric Association, Juan Jose Lopez Ibor, said that by 2020, depression would be the leading cause of absenteeism in developed countries and the second disease more common in the world. The WHO predicts that this will become the second leading cause of disability, just below the chronic degenerative diseases and the second most common disease after ischemic heart disease.


According Joham Peter Frank, are 4 characteristics that make a disease becomes a public health problem, these are:

¤It must affect many people
¤You must make long evolution
¤Involves an expensive treatment
¤It involves disabling consequences
¤It affects the most disadvantaged

What is depression?

Depression is a serious mood disorder, whose origin is multifactorial, meaning that involved a series of psychological, social and biological development, such as genetic predisposition, chemical imbalance of the brain, use of toxic substances, negative feelings , stress, conditioning, education, etc.. But in any case has to do with signs of personal weakness or lack of character. However, despite being fairly common and serious condition, it is highly treatable. However, only a third of individuals diagnosed receive appropriate treatment.

Mental illnesses account for a high impact on the productivity of a country

The main reason that attention to depression acquires a sense of urgency, because it is a chronic disease of slow evolution, which generates a high degree of disability, greatly reducing the ability of social adaptation. It also has a high cost in public health and a high impact on the financial sector and the economy of a country, as is the leading cause of lost productivity at work. Studies by experts from Kings College in London , revealed in financial terms, the costs of disability benefits and unemployment generated by a person with depression, which amount to 1% of GDP, which represents a considerable sum.

Various treatments for depression

Antidepressants : do not cause addiction, but like any other medication side effects. Address the biological basis that produces depressive symptoms, so they are extremely effective. It is estimated that 70% of the population uses them, shows a significant improvement after 4 weeks of starting treatment.

Psychological therapies: cognitive behavioral therapy is currently the most efficient for the treatment of most adult patients. Also effective psychotherapy-psychodynamic and interpersonal therapy.

Challenges for health specialists and government in Mexico

According to the specific program for depression of the Mental Health Programme of Action 2001-2006 of the SERSAME, the challenges faced by Mexico in this regard are:

Challenges of equity: It is intended to ensure coverage of primary health services for psychiatric care for the uninsured also provide trained personnel to medical facilities in areas farthest from urban centers.

Challenges of quality: They involve the training of general practitioners to ensure detection and timely treatment and thus avoid the chronicity of the disease, relapse and prevention of major risks, such as suicide.

It also involves knowledge of the characteristics of groups at risk and the establishment of the biological basis for predicting the characteristics of individuals presenting a higher susceptibility to the disease. Here, in 2008, the General Psychology PhD in Experimental National University Benjamin Dominguez Trejo, released the results of a study by the group Mind-Body of the School of Psychology, which revealed that the main emotional activities are generated in the brain called the “island” and that people with higher activity in this area are better able to organize their lives and control their emotions, whereas with less active individuals had a high sensitivity to changes emotional. These results enable the development of specialized mechanisms within the health sector to help improve strategies to identify those most likely to develop the disease.

Challenges of financial protection: It means ensuring the right treatment for all people suffering from this disorder. In this sense, it seeks to reduce costs and make them more profitable, since currently about 80% of drugs used for treatment, have high prices that are not accessible to everyone. A proper diagnosis at the first level, would reduce costs considerably, as there is evidence that mild depression can be treated with any type of brief therapy, however, to prevent relapse, health experts recommend following therapy at least to a year.

Barriers to adequate treatment of depression

The family tends to minimize the problem, an attitude that aggravates the patient’s psychopathology. It requires an urgent change of attitude of all people regarding mental illness, because the social stigma that falls on the sick is the main obstacle to the detection and thus for treatment.