Vatican City (Fides Service) – From 13 to 15 November in the New Synod Hall in the Vatican the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Care of Health Workers and the Sick will hold its 18th International Conference. The subject chosen for reflection this year is “Depression” a major emerging sicknesses. Depression is said to be a potential “killer” of our day. This common syndrome which affects about 340 million people and is among the main causes of disability (10,7%), can be diagnosed and treated. However less than 25 % of persons affected by depression have access to effective treatment.
Certainly our era is privileged by technological progress which has given us a new definition of “homo sapiens”, now “homo potens”. But unfortunately we see that “homo potens” is at the same time “homo pavidus”, man of fear, immense fear although he may never admit to being afraid. Depression is a sign of post-modern culture empty of values and based on wealth and pleasure in which what counts as the supreme goal making as much money as possible.
The Conference will focus on what depression is, how it should be viewed in the light of the faith, action to be taken. Speakers will include specialists, professors and psychiatrists from various parts of the world including Cardinals José Saraiva Martins, Paul Poupard, Jorge Arturo Medina Estevez, Carlos Amigo Vallejo, Ivan Dias and Javier Lozano Barragán; Bishops, the Director of Mental Health Department of the World Health Oganisation WHO Dr. B. Saraceno, Chinese Ambassador to the Holy See Mr Raymond R.M. Tai. (AP) (10/11/2003 Fides Service; lines:26 words:308)