According to the health minister the incidence of depression has jumped by two-fold over the past 26 years as unemployment and concerns about financial security have become more prevalent in the country
Nationwide surveys made available by the Health Ministry show that the rate of depression is 12.6% in Iran, while the global rate is 9-10%. The rate is not similar among Iranian men and women.
Last week the Health Minister Seyed Hassan Qazizadeh Hashemi said women suffer more from depression and 16.5% of the women population is struggling with the common mental health condition. Depression, he says, is often triggered by “stressful life situations and a variety of economic and social factors.”
According to the health minister the incidence of depression has jumped by two-fold over the past 26 years as unemployment and concerns about financial security have become more prevalent in the country of 80 million people.
Depression results from a complex interaction of social, psychological and biological factors. People who have gone through adverse life events (unemployment, bereavement, psychological trauma) are more likely to fall into bouts of depression.
Depression can, in turn, lead to more stress and dysfunction and worsen the affected person’s life situation and depression itself, Mahdi Moslemifar, psychologist told Fararu.
“While we don’t have control over biological factors, positive social and economic changes can go a long way towards helping alleviate depression,” he said.
During the eight years of former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (2005-2013), the number of people suffering stress, anxiety and depression because of job insecurity, record-high inflation and declining purchasing power due to stagflation increased in leaps and bounds.
According to Moslemifar, serious dangers and risks about the effects of the economic downturn produced a sharp rise in numbers of people experiencing symptoms of common mental health conditions, like anxiety and depression.
Depression can cause the affected person to suffer immensely and do poorly at the workplace, in school and in the family. At its worst, depression can even lead to suicide.
In 2013, the most depressed country was Afghanistan, where more than one in five people suffered from the disorder. The least depressed was Japan with a diagnosed rate of less than 2.5%.
When Hassan Rouhani was elected in 2013, things started to change slowly for the better. Though the much-needed jobs were few and far between, the galloping inflation was tamed form over 40% four years ago to about ten percent early this year growth.
Economic growth rate of 8.9% was reported for fiscal 2016-17, which marked a turning point in the sanction-hit economy. Better economic conditions should translate into bigger payrolls. This in turn will bode well for the wellbeing of the masses and by extension better mental health.
One of the main factors, which is and should be considered when assessing the quality of economic growth, is the number of jobs created on the back of GDP rise.
The insignificant number of jobs created during the Ahmadinejad era is one example of how growth rates failed to put the army of unemployed on the payrolls. According to a report on the economic performance of seven governments from 1989 to 2016, published by the Majlis (parliament), Ahmadinejad created “8,000 jobs during his eight years in office while the Rouhani government generated an estimated two million jobs in three and a half years.”