Kenyans Among the Most Depressed in Africa - WHO Report

A report released by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on world mental health situation has placed Kenya as the sixth most depressed country in Africa.

WHO defines depression as a common mental disorder characterized by persistent sadness and loss of interest in activities you normally enjoy accompanied by an inability to carry out daily activities, for at least two weeks.

First was Djibouti with 5.1 percent of its population is depressed Cape Verde and Tunisia tied for second 4.9 of their population depressed, third was Lesotho with 4.8 percent of its population depressed fourth were Ethiopia and Botswana having 4.7 percent of their population affected with depression, fifth was Algeria with 4.5 percent of its population depressed sixth came Kenya/Comoros/Madagascar/Mauritius/Namibia/South Sudan have 4.4 percent of their population depressed.

The report indicates that in Kenya, men are the most affected by the mental illness which mostly goes undiagnosed because most people have no clue what to look for as symptoms.

According to the founder of Psychiatric Disability Organization Kenya  Iregi Mwenja, "people aged between 14 and 29 are more likely to suffer from depression", The Standard reported.

Addiction is part of depression, just like being suicidal. Internet addiction is a common phenomenon driving many to depression. In social media, people tend to compare their lifestyles with those of others, sometimes pushing them into depression,” added Iregi.

Some of the symptoms that show that one might be suffering from depression include anger/ temper surges, recklessness/ compulsive disorder, Verbally and emotionally abusive, overworking, alcohol abuse, sickly/weight loss, and palpitations, sexual dysfunctions, sleep disorder, poor work performance and isolation among others.

Dr. Felix Opondo a psychologist stated that suicide could be prevented if many of these signs are noticed earlier and treated.

The signs that someone may commit suicide are always written on the wall. Somebody cannot just wake up and take their own life. The decision to take one’s life is always a trigger but before that, there have to hint all over,” revealed Dr. Opondo.

Ruth Nkatha, a psychologist with Befrienders (an organization that offers emotional support to individuals with depression) noted that while there is no definite reason for the high suicide rates, some can be linked to the tough economic times, major life changes like job losses, chronic illnesses or lack of effective problem-solving skills.

She, however, revealed that there is a small section of the population that is prone to depression - one that is genetically predisposed.

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