She was speaking at a media briefing at the Government Information Department yesterday (29) in view of world health day 2017.
Biological, psychological as well as environmental factors contribute to the cause of depression, Dr. de Silva noted.
Worldwide, 350 million people are having this illness, according to her.
It is preventable, but many live on with it without turning to treatment as they fear society’s knowing it will bring them a blemish, and in the end some even commit suicide, she said.
Symptoms include loss of appetite, weight loss, sleepiness, lack of concentration, bad temper and headache.
Anyone having depression could first consult the family doctor, Dr. de Silva said, adding that if not treated, it could also lead to other ailments such as heart disease, cancer and disability.