Friday 7th April is World Health Day, and this year the World Health Organization has announced the theme, which is depression: let's talk. Depression is the leading cause of ill health and disability worldwide. More than 300 million people are now living with depression, an increase of more than 18% between 2005 and 2015. People who live in cities have up to 39% increased risk of depression. This is important for architects, city planners, and other urban designers. So, in line with the World Health Day theme, #letstalk about #designagainstdepression.
What is depression?
Depression is an illness characterized by persistent sadness and a loss of interest in activities that you normally enjoy, accompanied by an inability to carry out daily activities, for at least two weeks. In addition, people with depression normally have several of the following symptoms: a loss of energy; a change in appetite; sleeping more or less; anxiety; reduced concentration; indecisiveness; restlessness; feelings of worthlessness, guilt, or hopelessness; and thoughts of self-harm or suicide.
- World Health Organization
What does urban living have to do with depression?
The physical and social environments of urban life can contribute both positively and negatively to mental health and wellbeing. There are three main reasons that city life is associated with increased depression:
So how can urban design help reduce the risk of depression for people living in cities?
Learn more detail about these opportunities on our website.
ACTION: What can I do today?
Let's fill the internet with great design to reduce depression. For World Health Day, the Centre for Urban Design and Mental Health is kicking off a #udmhflashmob - all day on April 7th:
While the whole world is talking about depression for World Health Day, let's make sure they think about the important and innovative roles that designers and other citymakers can play in preventing depression and promoting better mental health and wellbeing for the population.
#udmhflashmob This is Granary Square, Kings Cross in central London, UK. This public open space invites people to sit and relax with a book, eat their lunch, or meet and chat with friends. It incorporates natural and artificial elements, and is accessible by a biking and walking path along the canal, and by many forms of public transport. #greenspace #openspace #socialspace #activespace #worldhealthday