It isn’t typical for medical students in Kuwait to consider psychology. People consider it a stigma profession and a waste of time. As a result, it creates a very large gap in diagnosing and treating people’s mental health. The stigma is so strong that employers refuse to hire those with mental illnesses. Plus, landlords have rejected them as tenants. This leaves many people with nowhere to go and no one to turn to for help. Sometimes, families take them, hide them from the rest of society, and receive “exorcisms.” Why? Because they believe that the source of depression or mental illness is a result of a lack of faith in God or some kind of possession. Minor changes are being made in impactful ways to combat these stereotypes and stigmas, though the difference is a bit slow.
St. Lucia is a high-middle-income country. However, there are still pockets of poverty throughout the country, making it difficult for some people to seek the medical attention they need. This leaves many people with depression with no recourse, further exacerbating their conditions. They have increased their mental health services over the years. However, there remains a shortage of community-based services to reach areas that aren’t immediately near their facilities. The national health industry receives about 8% of funding, while only 4% really goes to mental healthcare. Anything community-based is completely funded from hospital funds, reducing how strong these care services can be for patients. In addition, out of the 34 health centers on the island, only 9 of them offer any kind of mental health services.
Mental heal issues are quite prevalent in Iran. About 20% of the population have depression, a mental illness, or a substance disorder. About 60% of those people never receive treatment for their conditions, and only 15-20% receive proper treatment. There seems to be no difference between rural and urban areas when it comes to rates of depression either, signifying that there’s a bigger problem in play. And the problem is that only 3% of healthcare funding goes to mental health. Many underlying causes of depression in Iran include unemployment, poverty, and the increased mental decline rate as citizens age. In response, Iran has started increasing their spending for mental health, though it is unclear how much this has improved the rates of depression.
Albania has a real shortage of people they need to treat depression. Of the entire population, there are only 25 psychiatrists to help all of them. In fact, Albania ranks last in all of Europe for the number of doctors who specialize in psychiatry. This is not great because, according to an INSTAT survey, 60-70% of Albanian adults suffered from depression at some point. The number of people living with depression has increased over the years, but it isn’t clear whether this is an actual increase in cases or if more people are just coming forward about their mental health. Albania has increased its importation of specific medication to help treat depression.
A report from the World Health Organization back in 2011 stated that the population of France was the most likely to suffer a major depressive episode within their lifetime. This information doesn’t seem to be anything new since France consumes more antidepressants than any other country in the world. Of course, many French people had a problem with the study, stating that the consumption of antidepressants wasn’t an indication of depression but the willingness of a doctor to prescribe them in the first place. There are still a few stigmas surrounding mental health, but the government is taking steps to identify biomarkers that make it possible to make faster diagnoses.
Ireland has had a good track record of decreasing suicide rates yearly since 2011. But that doesn’t mean that they’ve thrown in the towel. They continue to take the appropriate steps to keep these numbers down by examining and understanding the first signs of depression, the underlying causes, and which treatments work best for different people. These include therapy, antidepressant medication, and electroconvulsive therapy conducted under anesthesia. However, even with these programs in place, Ireland’s rate of depression and other mental disorders is still 18.5%. This figure is higher than the European average in 2018.
Suriname has had a mental health policy around since 2007. However, the approach itself has been problematic. There is no strategy involved, and it’s not easy to understand. It doesn’t help that the downsizing of the mental health hospital that came up with this policy has reduced the monitoring system as well as the protection of human rights. Any mental health services are connected to only one national psychiatric hospital, which is a one-day treatment facility. In addition, there are only five outpatient facilities headed by psychiatrists, making it difficult for anyone needing help to get sufficient treatment. The maximum stay is 99 days, and there has been no increase in mental health beds in the mental hospital, despite the increasing numbers of those with mental disorders.
One would think that a place like the Netherlands wouldn’t have a high rate of depression, but they do. In fact, they have one of the higher rates of depression in Europe. Nearly 16% of the population suffers from depression, but some Dutch psychiatrists have stated that these numbers should not be interpreted as the Dutch needing more help than other countries. Many point to the Dutch being naturally gloomy, but they still have access to the help they need whenever they need it. The Netherlands boasts about having 139 psychiatric beds for every 100,000 people, which is well above the average. And they’re aiming to cut this number by a third in order to focus on more community-based programs and approaches so that there is less pressure on the health system.
Argentina passed the National Mental Health Law in 2010, which focused on providing alternative treatments to help those living with depression. There are currently 162 mental hospitals taking in roughly 12,000 people every year, which puts a definite strain on resources. To make the problem more complicated, there is still insufficient visibility regarding mental health issues, and education on these issues also doesn’t seem to be a priority. Due to these factors, mental health disorders and depression are on the rise, and there is little to no recourse. Funding is low, and with depression being considered an “invisible” disease, people don’t know where to go or whom to turn to when they start experiencing symptoms.
Regarding mental health, Canada has a full parity system for mental health services, unlike the patchwork of private insurers that the United States has. Studies revealed that Canadians were more likely to seek mental health treatment from their family doctor than Americans; in addition, Canadians were more likely to see a psychiatrist or psychologist after visiting their family doctor. Many believe this is mostly due to the available access; Canada has little to no barriers to accessing the health care system, so patients can seek out treatment whenever they feel it is necessary. There also seems to be less stigma involved regarding mental health so that there is no embarrassment attached to mental health treatment.
In Grenada, people don’t openly discuss depression. People will actually go out of their way to avoid talking about it. They might just say they don’t feel well. They don’t know how to put what they’re experiencing into words. That can leave people feeling very alone with their emotions. And because of that, people turn to other “healing methods.” One of those methods in Grenada tends to be substance abuse. More people use alcohol or drugs as Band-Aids for their mental problems, making depression more prevalent. We aren’t sure what they are doing to decrease the depression. However, bringing the issue to light is definitely one of the first steps to starting this critical conversation.
In Ethiopia, depression contributes to about 6.5% of burdensome diseases. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of information to determine exactly the percentage of Ethiopia’s population who live with depression. Two surveys estimate that it was somewhere between 5% and 9%. When they did a further study, some factors regarding who was most at risk for depression came into play. At the top of the list were pregnant women and college students. They took other factors into account to determine other at-risk groups. These include those living in rural areas, older individuals, and those who abused substances. Ethnicity and religion did not play a role since the prevalence of depression were the same across these groups.
The pandemic definitely took a toll on those living in Israel, with many people finding themselves unable to bounce back into what was once their normal lives. As many as one in five young adults reported having high levels of depression. The country’s biggest concern was that depression rates would continue increasing even after the lockdowns ended. And for that, effective steps have to be taken. But first, the country needs to get past its stigma toward mental health. Without that barrier, it becomes nigh impossible for depressed individuals to get the attention and professional help they need. The problem is even more difficult to deal with for those who come from a lower socioeconomic status.
South Africa is considered a country that is always in a state of transition. There has been rapid industrialization and urbanization. So much to the point that people find it difficult to keep up with all the changes taking place. This has led to deeply-rooted inequalities, especially in terms of race and economic status. The prevalence of other infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis, has also made it difficult for people to find regular and happy lives. That is why depression is so prevalent there. New cases of depression are popping up all the time in different areas of South Africa, and there is little recourse as to how these numbers can be combatted. As a result, people aren’t getting the help they need or don’t even know where to start looking.
Costa Rica has been facing a slow-growing crisis in which many of its citizens don’t know what to do. The country isn’t keeping up with the overall global scheme when it comes to treating mental health. They are essentially left behind compared to most other countries in the world. Many people in Costa Rica don’t know how to recognize their symptoms as depression. Instead, they push it aside as “just feeling tired” or blaming their feelings on something else. The lack of security in all aspects of life in Costa Rica makes it relatively easy for anyone to fall into a depressive episode; the problem lies with how to get themselves back out of it. The resources are a little lacking, there are very few mental health professionals, and inpatient treatment requires travel of long distances just to get help.
Colombia is mostly known to the rest of the world as having high rates of assaults, assassinations, and homicides. Acts of violence leave little room for hope regarding a person’s future, which can quickly slide into depression. Mental health rates are higher in rural areas with more trauma and substance abuse. So what are they doing to address the issue, exactly? There has been the development of many mental health institutes to combat these numbers. One of the biggest ones is The Children of the Andes Foundation, which focuses on the protection of the rights of Colombian children who deal with violence. They create positive environments to minimize the risk of depression in the future.
In Peru, those with mental health issues are deemed “the other,” meaning they are treated with less dignity and respect. The citizen of Peru would prefer to exclude and discriminate against these people than to expend any effort trying to help them through their problems. Even the psychiatrists in Peru have had a traditional approach to mental health, deeming mental illness a significant obstacle to the country’s development. However, it is due to the intervention of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) that these ideologies have begun to change. They needed to integrate mental and physical health services into the country and create an information system. Plus, they should promote mental health to remove the stigma.
Despite Sweden being listed as one of the happiest countries in the world, that doesn’t mean that they don’t have citizens who don’t experience depression. In fact, all of these so-called “happy” countries may not be as full of joy as they purport themselves to be. According to a study conducted by Eurofound, 41% of Sweden’s young population were at risk of depression. This is a 60% increase in children who needed emergency accommodations between 2011 and 2017. The problem lies in providing young people with access to the social facilities they need before their mental health declines. The younger generation is quickly becoming a dwindling group, so people pay very little attention to their concerns and problems.