Psychologist on Biles: "The World on Top of a Little Girl" 4:21

(CNN Spanish) -- Depression is a condition that goes beyond sadness. In the world more than 280 million people suffer from it, but fortunately there is treatment.

The issue of mental health came to light on a large scale at the last Tokyo Olympics because of American gymnastics star Simone Biles, who withdrew from competition speaking out of the mental toll on competing at the highest level.

Then, Biles told reporters she retired not because of an injury, but to "work on [her] mindfulness." He talked about how stressful it was the day before the event, how he was "shaking" and could barely take a nap after his workout. He said he had never felt that way before a competition.

"I think we're too stressed," she told reporters. "We should be here having fun, but that's not the case."

  • Depression and suicide: where to look for help in Latin American countries and Spain?

But Biles isn't the only one who has spoken openly about her mental health. Another athlete whose performance was one of the most anticipated at the Olympics, Japanese tennis player Naomi Osaka – who was in charge of lighting the Olympic cauldron – withdrew from the French Open in May of that year, citing mental health reasons, and later revealed that she had "suffered long bouts of depression" since winning her first Grand Slam title in 2018. Osaka later withdrew from Wimbledon.


What is depression and how to identify it?

Depression is a condition that goes beyond sadness, according to the American Psychological Association (APA).

"People with depression may experience a lack of interest and pleasure in their daily activities, significant weight loss or gain, insomnia, or excessive desire to sleep," the APA says. It also speaks of "lack of energy, inability to concentrate or feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt and recurring thoughts of death or suicide."

  • Why everyday things like getting out of bed, bathing, and eating can be a struggle for people with depression

It's one of the "most common" mental disorders, the APA says, but, "fortunately," it adds, it's a condition that has treatment, with a combination of therapy and antidepressant medications that can aid a recovery.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO):

  • It is a common mental disorder and globally suffered by more than 280 million people of all ages.
  • It is one of the leading causes of disability worldwide, says the WHO, "and is a major contributor to the global burden of disease."
  • It affects more women than men.
  • It can cause a person to commit suicide. In fact, about 800,000 people die each year from suicide and it is the second leading cause of death in people between the ages of 19 and 29, says the WHO.

The pandemic increased cases of depression in the U.S.

The COVID-19 pandemic had harsh effects in terms of the increase in cases of depression in the US, especially due to months of confinement orders and physical distancing between loved ones to prevent the spread of the virus.

A U.S. Census Bureau survey found that one in three Americans had reported symptoms of depression or anxiety in 2022, more than three times the rate of a similar survey conducted in the first half of 2019. And that physical distancing, and a long time without seeing friends and family, exacerbated the already widespread problem in loneliness, which can be deeply detrimental to mental health.

According to a Census Bureau survey, through late May and early June 2021, at the height of the pandemic, more than 40% of U.S. adults said they felt "low spirits, depressed or hopeless" for at least several days a week, compared with more than half of adults who said the same at the January peak.

  • Colombian comedian Risaloca shares his struggle with depression

Depression is still highest among adults under 30 and is not improving as quickly as in other age groups. About 56% of adults under 30 said they experienced feelings of depression in a recent week, according to the latest survey data collected between May 26 and June 7, up from 65% at the height of the pandemic.

How to help or seek help?

According to the APA, social isolation increases the risk of depression, worse, on the other hand, says the APA, discussing problems with friends for a long time can in fact "increase depression as well."

Therefore, since depression is an illness that "carries high costs in terms of relationship problems," interpersonal, according to the APA, it can also lead to problems for the family and cause the person to lose productivity problems.

  • How to fight depression? Experts explain treatments and options

Psychologists, behavioral therapy, and medications are expertly approved treatments.

What to do if you have a loved one with depression, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

1. Don't leave the person alone.

2. Remove any firearms, alcohol, drugs, or sharp objects that could be used in a suicide attempt.

3. Call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline At 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

4. Take the person to an emergency room or seek help from a medical or mental health professional.

For more tips and warning signs, click here.

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In Latin America and Spain

ARGENTINA Suicide Prevention
Line – Suicide Help Online
PHONE: (54-11) 5275-1135 or 135 from Buenos Aires and GBA

Let's Talk About All
Phone Directory

Telephone of hope
La Paz: 2248486

Centro de Valorização da Vida, CVV
Phone: 188
Chat: (chat help)

Telephone of hope
Phone: 005642221200

Everything improves, help by email or chat

Phone of Hope

Barranquilla:(00 57 5) 372 27 27

Bogota: (57-1) 323 24 25

Medellin: (00 57 4) 284 66 00

San Juan de Pasto: 3016326701

Phone of Hope

Phone of Hope
Quito: (593) 2 6000477 - 2923327

Phone of Hope: 717 003 717

Phone San Pedro Sula: (00 504) 2558 08 08

Instituto Hispanoamericano de Suicidologia, A.C
Phone: +5255 46313300

Sentido (Peruvian Center for Suicidology and Suicide Prevention)
Phone: 01 498 2711

Phone of hope
Lima: (00 51 1) 273 8026

PAS Line (First Psychosocial Help)Phone
: 1-800-981-0023

Last resort
Phone: 0800-Vive (8483)

Phone of Hope

Valencia: 0241-8433308

National: 0-800-PSYCHE