World Mental Health Day: Defeating the dog called Depression

Neela Debnath

To coincide with World Mental Health Day, the World Health Organization have produced an animated video about depression. The short video by Matthew Johnstone, who has written, illustrated and narrated it, features a black dog which serves as a metaphor for the mental disorder. Depression varies in severity, with episodes being classed as mild, moderate or severe.

According to the WHO, depression affects more than 350 million people of all ages and from different backgrounds. Even though there are effective treatments for depression, less than half of those affected across the world receive these treatments.

With the global economic downturn causing jobs losses and putting pressure on people’s incomes, depression and other mental health conditions have been rising, therefore it is now more important than ever to raise awareness and understanding and end stigma associated with mental disorders. Depression is one of the WHO’s top priorities, covered under its Mental Health Gap Action Programme which aims to increase mental health services in all countries across the globe.

The video is a simple but effective insight into the disorder, looking at the emotions and feelings that it can cause. Along with the negative side of depression, the video offers hope and tips to viewers on how to deal with it. The most important thing to remember is that it is a common disorder and that there is help out there.

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  • Mook Loxley

    This is really good, felt quite touched by it as someone who has experienced and now works with others who have depression. If there was one criticism that I would make, and it is a small one, it’s the tired old stereotype of the bald therapist with glasses that has his patient on a couch. I’m not sure if Psychoanalysis is done in this way any more and it certainly isn’t the NICE approved treatment for mild to moderate depression at the moment.
    That said, the Black Dog metaphor has been used really effectively to describe both symptoms and treatment options for depression. Nice one Matthew Johnstone!

  • Silvertortoise Piano

    Here is something which I have found to be invaluable in helping with depression I hope it will help others too : )

  • lightningduck

    Funny RedRoseAndy how you’re promoting your own “system’…I urge people to look up what a crackpot cretin you are. It’s hard to believe they let people like you out on the streets…

  • Ian Francis

    Hi RedRose Andy Fantastic mate can I give you my 5 magic beans and my gold egg laying goose for the specialist help you speak off? Muppet the comment you made is not helpful……………………………Ian Francis Bipolar 52 down but not out…

  • Helen Kitchen

    An excellent video that shows what it REALLY is like to suffer with the very common illness of depression. I am campaigning today to get this video shown on screens at doctors’ surgeries who have the technology to do so. Hopefully, if we can spread this info’ widely, more people will be successfully treated and diagnosis made more quickly before the illness becomes very serious.

  • Helen Kitchen

    What are you talking about? Anyone, even you, could suffer from this serious illness. This video is brilliant and will help educate many people. It will be v helpful to explain to families and friends of a person suffering with this illness what it feels like and show that it is treatable. It shows there is nothing to ashamed of, it is AN ILLNESS not a weakness!!! I had serious depression 7 years ago, but I am now well, working and happy!

  • Clare Elizabeth Freeman

    Whilst being inherently unable not to see some humour in this video i do applaud it.
    Probably my favourite bit was when the black dog was draped over his head and the heads of various others! However making the dog a giant rain cloud i felt was taking artistic license perhaps a step too far?:)
    p.s i was kind of hoping to see the giant black dog lying on the eponymous couch too?
    or was that the point:that the dog wasn’t depressed, just big and black? or is that getting waay too philosophical about it all..

  • marian meade

    Brilliant! Thanks so much for creating this fabulous video. I will be sharing!!
    Marian Meade
    RN BScN
    Marriage Coach, emotional fitness advocate.

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