The world consists of different cultures and societies. In the western society, the last decades have been paying a lot of attention to mental healthcare, where depression can be found. But is this also the case in other cultures? Do muslims or Buddhists also recognize depression as a psychological disorder? Below, we give the prevalence of depression.

Prevalence of depression worldwide

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 350 million people worldwide suffer from depression. Depression thus is a universal disorder. It is found all over the world, disregarding the culture or societal vision. From a study by UZ Gasthuisberg and the Trimbos institute, it was also shown that depression has a death toll of 850 000 people per year around the world. This prevalence of depression is gigantic! We now know that depression occurs all over the world, but is the prevalence of depression the same everywhere? Are there certain countries where one is more susceptible to depression? From the same study by the UZ Gasthuisberg and the Trimbos institute, it was found that depression mainly occurred in western countries. The general prevalence of depression for western countries is 14.6%. This means that 14.6% of the people in western countries suffer from a depression. Differentiation is important, as the prevalence of depression is much higher in the following countries: France, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and the United States. Non-western countries such as China and Brazil had a prevalence of depression of 11.1%. Countries such as India, Mexico, and South-Africa scored only 10%.

Prevalence of depression: explanation

These numbers are still somewhat apart, but what is an explanation for this? First of all, depression is often not seen as a psychological disorder in some countries. We give depression a psychological character, but this is not so in all countries. Other countries see depression as a physical issue or not as a disorder at all. Depression is not linked with the psychological part of humans everywhere at all. Some think that depression is purely caused by a physical issue or dysfunction. Other countries do not recognize depression at all. In some cultures, it is still taboo to suffer from a depression. Secondly, the difference in prevalence of depression can be caused by the way the culture looks at it. In psychology, there namely are two types of cultures which are differentiated: the individualistic and the collectivistic culture. In the individualistic culture, emphasis is put on the individual. He or she is an element in him- or herself, and prefers to function alone. In the collectivistic culture, there is little space for the individual. People live in groups, close to each other. The group norms are more important than the individual norms or wishes. The western world is characterized by the individualistic culture and countries such as Chine and Mexico are rather characterized by the collectivistic culture. An explanation for the difference can be that collectivistic cultures get more social support. They will more easily talk about their issues, as it is important for the group atmosphere. The emphasis is put more on supporting each other than it is in individualistic cultures. Yet, a critical note should be taken here. The study was namely conducted using western questionnaires. This can make it so that non-western cultures are not properly represented. They can namely look at depression in a different way, which our questionnaires might not measure.

15 Minutes 4 Me

The online self-help program 15 Minutes 4 Me was developed to treat depression. After signing up for this program, you work on yourself for fifteen minutes daily, as well as on your depression. Via the internet, you receive solution focused questions and videos, which have the goal of helping you to gain new insights. It is a small step into getting help, which can be seen as treatment in itself, or can be used to support psychotherapy.

Might you be depressed?

We have developed a free depression test for you, which you can fill out online and anonymously. You answer about twenty questions about yourself. Then, you are integrally sent to a page with your scores!