By Fergal Byrne of the Pioneers Post
Statistics show that between 76% and 85% of people with severe mental disorder in low and middle-income countries receive no treatment. In Africa, the impact on families is particularly pronounced when women are suffering from depression.
Culturally, women are the backbone of African families. Research shows that when an African mother is affected by depression, her entire family suffers; her children have poor health, they attend school less regularly and her income can dwindle. The problem is thought to affect more than 60 million African women, so the wider impact can be hugely detrimental.
One organisation which is working to help depressed African women in a simple and cost effective way is StrongMinds. Founder Sean Mayberry spent 10 years working and living in Africa, mostly focused on physical health issues like HIV, AIDS and malaria. During that time, he became aware and frustrated by the lack of access for Africans who suffered from mental illness: “I could see the toll it took on the women themselves and on their families and communities.”
StrongMinds was specifically set up to improve the mental health of women in Africa and Mayberry says it is unique in being focused on depression: “It’s a huge mental illness for African women and we are really the only organisation in Africa that is singularly focused on this.”
Read more at Pioneers Post.0