For those who think of depression as a byproduct of the vapidity of western materialism, this latest study by researchers in Queensland might come as something of a shock. Depression simply isn't that picky. And when it comes to depressive disorders, parts of north Africa and the Middle East suffer more than North America and western Europe.
According to the researchers, who gathered pre-existing data on clinical diagnoses up to 2010, Algeria, Libya, Syria and Afghanistan fared worse for the cumulative number of years their citizens lived with the disability of depression (YLD). (For the Middle East countries, bear in mind that this relates to data gathered before the Arab spring turned lives upside down).
Japan fared the best, along with Australia and New Zealand. The researchers caveated their work by acknowledging that data is patchy from some parts of the world. Intriguingly, the UK and US - countries in which reporting on mental illness and cultural reflections of depression are rapidly multiplying - appear to be far less badly afflicted than parts of Africa and eastern Europe ( via theguardian.com ).