​​Depression is a principal cause of needless suffering in the world, according to evidence amassed over decades. However, depression is seldom recognised or understood, especially by people in communities, governments, and the health sector, as a distinct problem from other issues that people endure. There is less done to prevent and relieve the suffering and difficulties associated with depression, and few governments recognise the impediment that depression poses on economic and social growth. In fact, mental disorders are frequently misdiagnosed and underreported, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The Lancet - WPA Commission on Depression synthesised evidence from diverse contexts and, in consultation with people with lived experience, generated action-oriented recommendations. Their aim is to promote concerted and united action to reduce the burden of depression and ensure that greater attention is paid to the millions of people who live with it across the globe.​​