Is Depression Africa’s most debilitating Illness? 

“In many African families, it’s really the woman who is the backbone of that household. When she is strong, the family thrives. When she is weak or suffering, the entire family suffers.” Sean Mayberry, Strong Minds

When we think of problems the extremely poor in Africa are facing, our minds often go to Malaria, lack of water and medicine. We very rarely hear about depression. Still, mental illness is really one of the most debilitating and pervasive diseases across all of Africa. There are currently 60 million women in Africa suffering from depression, and they have no access to health care. 

Today, talks with Sean Mayberry from Strong Minds about mental health in Africa. This is a cause which has most likely been dropped to the bottom of the list – but Sean thinks that it should be at the top. Not based on bias, but on the information. How do you teach a woman to protect her family from Malaria, or the importance of immunization if she is depressed? 

Strong Minds’ approach to solving this problem is through group therapy focused on women. These sessions are not led by doctors. Instead, the approach is based on helping communities help themselves. 

Several challenges still remain: most of these women live in slums and are isolating themselves, so how do you find them in the first place? A common misconception is that poverty is causing depression. What are the real causes of depression in Africa, and how do we solve it? 

Learn more about the challenges African women are facing, and the future of mental health in today’s episode. 

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