Globally, depression is marked to become the second leading cause of disability by 2020 (Murray & Lopez, 1996). Six percent of New Zealanders experience a major depressive disorder each year and 14% will experience a major depressive disorder at some point in their lives (Ministry of Health, 2012; Wells, 2006). In 2006, anxiety and depressive disorders were the second leading cause of health loss (healthy life lost due to illness, impairment or premature death) (Ministry of Health, 2013). One of the most common reasons people are absent from work or unable to run a home is due to suffering from depression (Ministry of Health, 2009).
The Health Promotion Agency (HPA) seeks to reduce the burden of depression on New Zealanders through the National Depression Initiative and by monitoring knowledge and awareness of depression through the Health and Lifestyles Survey (HLS).
The 2012 HLS included two questions that assessed people’s knowledge and measured their awareness of depression. First, respondents were asked how confident they would be in recognising that a close friend was experiencing untreated depression. Respondents were also asked to suggest some ways to treat depression.