THE BLOG

Global Day of Hope Raises Awareness for 350 Million Living With Depression

04/20/2015 02:06 pm ET | Updated Jun 20, 2015

The International Foundation for Research and Education on Depression (iFred) is galvanizing support on Saturday, May 2, for Global Day of Hope, when people around the globe will plant sunflowers in support of the 350 million people living with the treatable disease of depression. The sunflower is the international symbol of hope for depression and Global Day for Hope seeks to amplify the organization's mission to shine a positive light and eliminate the stigma associated with the disease through prevention, research and education.

On that day planting events will span from the U.S. to Asia including Illinois, North Carolina, Ohio, Colorado, South America, Nepal, Germany and more. People from all corners of the globe are invited to join the movement by planting sunflowers in their own communities and joining the conversation on social media using #Hope2015 and #PLANTHOPE.

"People don't talk about depression and we must change that," I noted. "Depression is treatable and yet because of the stigma associated with it, less than 25 percent of people with diagnosable depression receive treatment. We need to turn the conversation to provide solutions and hope for children and adults who silently suffer from the disease."

According to a report by the World Health Organization, suicide is a preventable mental health disorder that is treatable. And yet, because it is not significantly addressed, more than 800,000 lives are lost annually. It is the second leading cause of death globally for youth ages 15-29 and is estimated to cost the United States alone over $100 billion every year.

"Like so many other treatable medical conditions, support from family, friends and community can make all the difference to an individual fighting for a healthy life," said Dr. Elizabeth Lombardo, psychologist, physical therapist and author of Better than Perfect: 7 Strategies to Crush Your Inner Critic and Create a Life You Love. "We can all play a significant role in guiding our friends and loved ones to find and maintain hope by helping to address stress effectively, showing kindness and gratitude to one another and by stopping the unending search for perfection. Hope is a teachable skill and we all have the power to help someone close to us find purpose and positivity in life."

There are many ways to participate in Global Day of Hope:

--Plant Sunflowers: Plant one, plant a garden, get friends and community involved and celebrate HOPE together.
--Wear Yellow: Yellow is the color of the joy and happiness we feel when depression is successfully treated.
--Share and Shine a Light: Post, tweet, or share a photo on social media. Shine your light of hope using hashtags #HOPE2015 and #PLANTHOPE and be sure to tag us @ifredorg.