Depression is a mental state of low mood and aversion to activity. It affects more than 280 million people of all ages (about 3.5% of the global population). Classified medically as a mental and behavioral disorder, the experience of depression affects a person's thoughts, behavior, motivation, feelings, and sense of well-being. The core symptom of depression is said to be anhedonia, which refers to loss of interest or a loss of feeling of pleasure in certain activities that usually bring joy to people. Depressed mood is a symptom of some mood disorders such as major depressive disorder and dysthymia; it is a normal temporary reaction to life events, such as the loss of a loved one; and it is also a symptom of some physical diseases and a side effect of some drugs and medical treatments. It may feature sadness, difficulty in thinking and concentration and a significant increase or decrease in appetite and time spent sleeping. People experiencing depression may have feelings of dejection, hopelessness and suicidal thoughts. It can either be short term or long term.
In 1997, the President of Germany noted in a major speech that his country was dominated by a vast sense of discouragement, namely a crippling feeling hanging over the country. This manifested in the form of a loss of economic dynamism, a sense of rigidity of life, and an unbelievable mental depression. The underlying problem was however recognized to be a mental one.