List of Top Depressed Countries in Africa as World Marks Mental Health Awareness Month

By Vera Shawiza / May 3, 2019




Every year, on the second Monday of the month of May the world comes together to observe matters of Mental Health Awareness and this year, it will be marked from Monday 13th May 2019.

In a world that is increasingly opening up to and understanding those with mental health issues, it is no surprise that Mental Health Awareness week and generally month is now a firmer fixture on calendars across the globe organized by various bodies that deal with matters of mental health.

Research has shown that 16 million people experience a mental health problem each year and stress is a key factor in this.

Mental health might have been an issue that is slowly taking shape and talked about across the globe but historically, Africa has been neglecting anything related to this issue for a very long time. This might have as a result of a number of challenges that the continent continues to face including intractable poverty, infectious diseases, maternal and child mortality, as well as conflict and therefore making anything related to mental health seem not important or considered as a non-issue.

This trend is often compounded by three factors: ignorance about the extent of mental health problems, stigma against those living with mental illness and mistaken beliefs that mental illnesses cannot be treated.

Depression has been termed to be among the major cause of mental health and globally, it is the second-leading cause of disability, with slightly more than 4 percent of the world’s population diagnosed with it.

Depressive disorders are characterized by sadness, loss of interest or pleasure, feelings of guilt or low self-worth, disturbed sleep or appetite, feelings of tiredness, and poor concentration.

The following are the countries in Africa with the highest rates of depression, according to the global health estimates by the World Health Organisation. Bear in mind that estimates reflect the number of people being diagnosed, not all the people with depressive disorders.

Many factors affect the rate of diagnosis, including mental health awareness and the availability of psychiatric facilities.

  1. Djibouti

With 5.1 percent of its population suffering from depressive disorders, Djibouti is Africa’s most depressed country. The country had 43,909 cases of depressive disorders and 8,090 total years lived with disability (9.1 percent).

  1. Cape Verde and Tunisia

With 4.9 percent of their populations suffering from depressive disorders, Cape Verde and Tunisia tie for the second most depressed African country. Cape Verde had 24,240 cases of depressive disorders and 4,434 total years lived with disability (9.8 percent). Tunisia 518,432 cases of depressive disorders and 93,432 total years lived with disability (8.3 percent).

 

  1. Lesotho

Lesotho comes in third with 4.8 percent of its population suffering from depressive disorders. The country had 98,988 cases of depressive disorders and 18,087 total years lived with disability (8.1 percent).

  1. Botswana and Ethiopia

Botswana and Ethiopia tie for fourth place with 4.7 percent of their populations suffering from depressive disorders. Ethiopia had 4,480,113 cases of depressive disorders and 837,683 total years lived with disability (10.1 percent) while Botswana had 102,065 cases of depressive disorders and 18,183 total years lived with disability (7.2 percent).

  1. Uganda and South Africa

In fifth place are Uganda and South Africa, with 4.6 percent of their populations suffering from depressive disorders. Uganda had 1,747,769 cases of depressive disorders and 332,539 total years lived with disability (10.5 percent) while South Africa had 2,402,230 cases of depressive disorders and 420,696 total years lived with disability (7.2 percent).

  1. Algeria, Morocco, and Libya

Algeria, Morocco, and Libya tied for sixth place with 4.5 percent of their populations suffering from depressive disorders. Algeria had 1,683,914 cases and 302,560 total years lived with disability (8.1 percent); Morocco had 1,484,441 cases and 265,318 total years lived with disability (7.4 percent); while Libya had 265,883 cases and 48,069 total years lived with disability (8.0 percent).



About Vera Shawiza

Vera Shawiza is Soko Directory’s in-house journalist. Her zealous nature ensures that sufficient and relevant content is generated for the Soko Directory website and sourcing information from clients is easy as smooth sailing.Vera can be reached at: (020) 528 0222 or Email: [email protected]

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