“Poor people don’t have time to be depressed”
If you think that an kid who runs around naked chasing a chicken in a remote village in Africa would never have a depression, the same way that an old lady in a small village in Tibetan valleys will always have a happy simple life, you may be one of many people who believe that “ poor countries are happier than rich countries”, even though this statement is not quite true.
The most depressed country in the world is not a rich Scandinavian country. Accordingly to the 2018 Mental Health Day, India is the world most depressed country (second by China, USA, Brazil, Indonesia, Russia and Pakistan, respectively).
Most developing countries are not a part of this list presumably because the depression screening and depression patient data systems are not available.
“ Depression is not a rich people illness”
According to WHO statistics, 300 million people suffered from depression globally. 75% are in poverty and 85% do not have access to treatment.
Chris Underhill, founder of BasicNeeds which is the organization that helps people with mental health problems in developing countries, said that he was surprised that depression treatment is perceived as luxury service both in rich and poor countries whereas physical and mental health is the basis for human’s wellbeing.
It is not easy to tell someone that they have depression in some culture. In Africa, depression is believed to happen to those who committed a sinful act or caused by spirits. The depressed person may be taken to the spiritual leader to be treated, or they may be locked up or secluded from the community (of course, either way would not help the depressed person).
One of beneficiaries of BasicNeeds was a 41 years old Lao farmer. She was married with 5 children. She used to be a nurse in a military clinic, but she had to resigned because of her depression condition. After she quit her job, she felt despaired and worthless. Her family and the community saw her as being useless. 2 years later she received support from BasicNeeds and eventually became better and got back to work as a mushroom collector.
In developing countries, depression patients need to face both the illness and economic difficulty, while health care (both physical and mental health) is not widely available. Perceived as a rich person’s illness, depression treatment is even more difficult to be accessed by those in poverty.
In conclusion, depression does not choose to attack those with 2 credit cards. An illiterate laborer in a developing country also has a chance of being attacked by depression.
Article by Wall of Sharing
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