Depression is a rather recently discovered and acknowledged issue in Belgium and in Western society. To learn more about depression, a lot of research has been done as to what depression entails, also looking at other factors regarding depression, such as the prevalence of depression.

Research has been conducted to try to map the prevalence of depression. From this research it has also been shown that the prevalence of depression differs from country to country and that the risk factors can also differ between countries and cultures.

The World Health Organization (WHO) share the following numbers found in research, regarding the prevalence of depression:

  • 350 million people worldwide suffer from depression. Millions experience emotional consequences due to a depression in a family member or loved one.
  • 1 million people have taken their own lives through suicide during a depression.
  • 1 to 2 mothers in ten suffer from pregnancy depression, which influences the love and care for the child in a negative way. This, in turn, can have severe consequences on the development of the child.

So one can conclude that the prevalence of depression is high and that depression is a worldwide problem which often occurs, and that it is not dependent on culture, age, or society. So it would not be abnormal if one were to fall for the daily pressure and stress in this modern-day society.

Prevalence of depression: depression in every culture?

The numbers show that depression occurs worldwide. Maybe you would believe that depression is not really a well-known problem in certain cultures. This is correct. Not every culture acknowledges depression. Sometimes, depression is seen as a physical illness rather than a psychological one. Even though depression is not always acknowledged or called by that specific name, it does occur everywhere. So it can be so that the prevalence of depression is different in different cultures.

Even though depression is not always acknowledged, influencing the prevalence of depression, there also are several other factors which influence the differences found in prevalence of depression.

An important factor, to just name one, is the difference in collectivism. This can explain the difference in prevalence of depression between individualistic cultures and collectivistic cultures. An individualistic culture is characterized by the individual, which is the central player. Your culture assumes that you can do things on your own, that you care about your own needs, and that your individual is mainly in focus. In a collectivistic culture, one is more characterized as a person within a larger whole. Your family and descent are important and as an individual you are seen more inside of a family context, while individualistic cultures focus more on the actual individual rather than the family in which it lives. Sometimes, this individualistic culture can have an influence on the prevalence of depression. It namely is so that feeling alone or feeling you are under a lot of pressure on your own can influence the development of depression. People in collectivistic cultures are more focused on the whole environment in which they live and it can be so that they feel more supported and less alone because of this. That is why the prevalence of depression may be higher in individualistic cultures.

Examples of individualistic cultures are mainly found in western countries like Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Germany, and America.

Examples of collectivistic cultures are India, China, and Mexico.

Prevalence of depression: general acknowledgement of depression?

As mentioned above, depression is not acknowledged in every culture. Even in our society, which generally is seen as an open society, there is not always room for depression.

A tip which we can give you regarding this is not to get discouraged by other people's opinions. It is namely important to work on a depression after being diagnosed with depression. Other's opinions should not keep you from growing further and eventually dealing with problems.

If you are in a situation where you feel like you cannot openly speak about depression, it can be useful to check what it is that motivates you. You, yourself, have a choice as to what you do in order to deal with your depression.

Prevalence of depression: preventing increase of depression prevalence?

Certain studies indicate that the prevalence of depression has increased since the nineties. Is this really so? Are people more depressed than in the past? People are not sure about this.

In the past decade, psychology has become a larger concept, and this means that some instruments have been better worked out. This means that it might be so that there is a higher prevalence of depression, because more people are diagnosed. in the past, the tools for this were not available or known. People in certain cultures are also more open to depression than in the past, which could explain the increase.

It can also be so that an increase in the prevalence of depression has actually happened. In the past, people namely did more with their muscles, lived according to the rhythm of the son, ... This could contribute to the development of a depression. Because society has changed, it can be so that you develop certain habits, which can stimulate depression.

This statement thus needs to be taken with a grain of salt.

Prevalence of depression: depression test?

Would you like to know which symptoms of depression are applicable to you, or are you looking for a suitable treatment for your depression symptoms? Then take our free depression test here to learn more about your personal symptoms.