Fourteen percent of Israelis, as well as 14% of the world’s total population, suffer from clinical depression, but many do not seek professional help, according to experts organizing World Anxiety and Depression Awareness Month in November.The condition, which can be treated successfully with medication and psychological or psychiatric support, is the most common mental condition in the world.The prevalence is higher among women than men: a quarter of women and an eighth of men will suffer from at least one episode of depression during their lifetimes. In addition, 3-5% of teenagers suffer from depression – even the most serious types – in any given year.Treatment for depression in this country is included in the basket of health services.Family physicians – and not just psychiatrists and other mental health professionals – are permitted to treat depression.The World Health Organization estimates that, by 2020, clinical depression will be ranked among the most common serious conditions globally after heart attacks, when assessed for the loss of workdays and treatment costs.All the causes for depression are not known, even though research has shown that biological and emotional factors can increase the risk. In the past decade, genetic factors inherited from parents have also been implicated. Low self-esteem and extreme pessimism can be involved, as well as stress and difficult life experiences.Among the symptoms are feelings of sadness, emptiness, pessimism, self-blame, helplessness, a lack of self-value, sleep problems, lack of appetite, headaches, weight loss and a desire to be alone most of the time.Unfortunately, depressed people often have difficulty thinking clearly or recognizing their symptoms, thus support from family members and friends who urge getting professional help can point them in the right direction.Many sufferers decline help because they fear that anti-depressants cause side effects or believe that going for help will stigmatize them.A MarketWatch poll of a representative sample including 505 Israeli adults showed that, of those who had suffered from a bout with depression, 80% did not take anti-depressants of any kind. Younger people had a greater tendency than older people not to get medications for depression.