Poland ranks among the countries with the lowest percentage of people suffering from depression. The difference in relation to the mean European level may result from the existence of barriers in Polish realities affecting the low diagnosis and treatment rates of depression. Polish Ministry of Health established the 23rd of February the National Day of Fighting Depression to spread awareness about depression, reduce stigmatizing attitudes and encourage people suffering from depression to seek treatment and support.
The National Day of Fighting Depression
The National Day of Fighting Depression has been celebrated for over 20 years now, and as every year it is a good opportunity to remind that depression is an objectively occurring disease that can be treated with high effectiveness. The objective of the National Day of Fighting Depression is broadly understood social education (change of attitudes towards patients, induce empathy and reduction of stigma) and dissemination of knowledge about possible treatment and prevention options for depression.
Depression among Poles
Poland is a country where the percentage of people suffering from depression falls below the EU average. According to the report prepared by the National Health Fund, in 2019 the percentage of people suffering from depression in Poland was 2.8%, at the same time in the average level for the European Union was 4.4%. Depression affects the entire cross-section of society, however, statistics prove that in each age group, women predominate among people who were provided with healthcare services with a diagnosis of depression. It is worth adding that the above data of the National Health Fund concern people who have reported their problems to specialists, so we are talking about diagnosed people. The actual scale of the problem of depression may be much larger, especially after 2019, when we have experienced the adverse effects of the pandemic on mental health and the impact of the war in neighbouring Ukraine.
Limitations in the treatment of depression
There are several limitations in the treatment of depression, among which we can list:
- difficult access to specialists,
- low awareness and underestimating the problem,
- high degree of stigmatization of people suffering from depression.
The treatment of depression is handled by specialists. The shortage of psychiatrists, psychotherapists, psychologists poses a serious obstacle to access to mental health care. Extensive waiting time for a reimbursed visit is not conducive to rapid treatment, while taking therapy at your own expense is not conducive to its continuation when the treatment process requires it. Depression is both a health and social issue. The disease affects the well-being and functioning of the person affected by it. Depression can impair the quality of life in every area. Broadening knowledge about the symptoms of depression and not underestimating the problem prompts to respond faster and seek help, giving a chance for a better life. In some circles, suffering from depression is still considered a cause for shame. Stigmatization of people suffering from depression is the reason for delaying appointment with a specialist, and long concealment of a mental problem, which can be fatal (depression is one of the leading causes of lost years of life due to disability and a disease at risk of premature death). In a survey conducted by the CBOS Centre for Public Opinion Research (Depression in Experiences and Opinions), as many as 72% of respondents consider depression to be a shameful disease that hides from people.
Early diagnosis of depression and appropriate therapy is very important and helps prevent recurrence of the disease. In Poland, the diagnosis of depression can be made by the general practitioner (Primary Healthcare), however, a model of care based on cooperation between the GP and a psychiatrist is recommended for treatment. Therapeutic measures for managing depression include pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy. Fighting depression is not only about actively seeking help and treatment, but also about defending yourself through preventive measures. Depression is a biopsychosocial phenomenon, it has a complex aetiology, and elimination of all risk factors conducive to the occurrence of depression proves impossible. However, it is possible to reduce and balance stress, which is considered one of the causes of depression. Taking care of relaxation is important in depression prophylaxis. Neglecting regular rest is unfortunately not uncommon, which is reflected in psychophysical health. In case of depression prevention the VR TierOne GO relaxation headset comes in handy, as it can help you achieve the state of tranquillity and healthy relaxation.
VR TierOne as support in depression
The VR TierOne medical device is a product developed by Polish scientists and engineers, designed to help people with symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress. VR TierOne supports the health of patients of pulmonary, neurological, cardiological, oncological wards and seniors – patients of foundations and residents of nursing homes. The innovative VR TierOne therapy was designed to reduce the symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress. VR TierOne enables patients with symptoms of depression to better endure the hardships of the disease, and recover fitness and a cheerful mood faster. On the occasion of the National Day of Fighting Depression, we would like to emphasize that we are here to support the treatment of people with symptoms of depression and to strengthen the Polish and foreign system of mental healthcare.