(WebDesk/Online) - World Mental Health Day is observed on 10 October every year, with the overall objective of raising awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilizing efforts in support of mental health.

The Day provides an opportunity for all stakeholders working on mental health issues to talk about their work, and what more needs to be done to make mental health care a reality for people worldwide. World Metal Health Day is observed to outreach global mental health education, awareness and advocacy against social stigma across the world.

Mental health problems are one of the main causes of disease burden worldwide. Depression, anxiety and trauma are the leading disorders which sooner or later affect every individual in life. These disorders are common in all regions of the world. But unfortunately, Pakistan is one of those vulnerable countries where stress, anxiety and depression are at highest level. Its victims are alarmingly more in urban areas than rural districts. These patients don’t belong to any specific age or class.

50% of individuals in high income countries, who die by committing suicide have major depressive disorder at the time of their death. For every 1 suicide, 25 people make a suicide attempt, and approximately 135 people get affected by each suicidal death. This equates to 108 million people bereaved by suicide worldwide, each year.

Depression cause Aging

A new study has found that people living with major depressive disorder are biologically older than people without depression, and that childhood trauma exacerbates this effect. The results illuminate the epigenetic mechanisms that might explain this discrepancy.

Major depression is one of the most common health problems in the United States and in most of the regions across the world.

In fact, more than 16 million adults will have had at least one major depressive episode during the past year.
The condition has been linked to various other adverse outcomes, from a shorter lifespan to a higher risk of cardiovascular problems.

Premature aging is associated with adverse childhood

New research shows that major depression may also mean premature aging. Scientists led by Laura Han from the Amsterdam University Medical Center in the Netherlands studied the DNA structure of people with depression and made an intriguing discovery.

Han and colleagues found that the DNA of people with major depression is older by 8 months, on average, than that of people who do not have the condition.

The researchers presented their findings at the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology conference, held in Barcelona, Spain, and they published their study in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

Han and colleagues examined the DNA of 811 people with depression and 319 people without. The participants were enrolled in the Netherlands Study of Depression and Anxiety.

Using blood samples, the researchers examined how the participants’ DNA changed with age. The study revealed that epigenetic changes took place more quickly in people with depression.

Epigenetics is the study of the changes in gene expression that do not affect the DNA sequence. Such changes can occur as a result of many factors, including environment and lifestyle.

One of the mechanisms through which epigenetic change occurs is called DNA methylation — that is, when a methyl group is transferred and added to the DNA.

Overall, the scientists saw that people with major depressive disorder had a degree of methylation and epigenetic change that was indicative of an older age. More specifically, this means that those with depression were biologically older, by 8 months, than people without depression.

The study also found that those who had had childhood trauma were biologically 1.06 years older, on average, than people who had not experienced trauma.

The researchers replicated their findings by examining brain tissue samples.

Han comments on their findings, saying, "The fact that we saw similar results in both blood samples and postmortem brain tissue helps support the belief that this is a real effect we are seeing."

"What we see is, in fact, an ‘epigenetic clock,’ where the patterns of modification of the body’s DNA are an indicator of biological age. And this clock seems to run faster in those who are currently depressed or have been stressed."