Week 1: Major Depression In The Population: A Public Health Approach
Hi everyone! Welcome back to my blog! This week, as I have planned in my syllabus, I’m taking a course by Johns Hopkins University on Coursera called “Major Depressive Disorder in the Population: public health approach”. Hopefully, by taking the course, I would learn about the disease thoroughly and explore useful information for my senior project topic.
As I’m in the first unit of the course, I learned much fundamental knowledge in public health such as the distinction between “prevalence” and “incidence”. Incidence refers to the force of morbidity while prevalence refers to the number of patients in a population. I also realized that the gender discrepancy for the major depressive disorder can be as high as three times in western countries. In Munich, females are 3.47 more likely to have major depressive disorder than males. I was shocked to learn the relationship between depression and other diseases such as Diabetes. According to a list published by Disability Adjusted Life Years by Cause Worldwide (2000), unipolar depressive disorder appeared as the third leading cause of disability preceded only by lower respiratory infections and HIV. This shows that depression can be as debilitating and produce as huge an impact on one’s health as other severe physical illnesses.
I really enjoyed how this course looks at depression from a global population point of view. Depression is highly underrated in middle and low-income countries. Most research done on depression is in high-income countries. The analysis focusing on maternal depression proved my initial research where the environment is a huge risk factor for depression.
I also really enjoyed this course which educated me about major depression from a public health perspective. By learning about methods of research, such as cohort studies and case studies, I believe it will be helpful in the future to expand my research to studying the etiology and epidemiology of depression.
Access my full senior project proposal here! See you next week!