With the latest election nearly a month away, it seems that the conditions of the economy, ongoing military actions, and continuing human rights violations are taking their toll on the Iranian people. According to Iran’s Health Minister, Hassan Ghazizadeh, the number of people suffering from depression has doubled in the past 26 years.
“The people are victims of wrong decisions made by a number of policymakers and what we see today is unfortunately a path of hopelessness,” Hassan Ghazizadeh said on Sunday at a World Health Day event.
“Issues such as unemployment, losing loved ones, road accidents and excessive use of narcotics have resulted in an increasing number of psychological disorders and depression,” he added.
While incidents of depression can occur due to various circumstances or health challenges, it seems that this uptick is a sign of greater concerns within Iranian society. Ghazizadeh noted that their country is facing a variety of issues that impact large sections of the population, which can impact mental health, but that the politicians are “closing their eyes” to these issues.
Statically, he pointed at that women are at a higher risk of depression, but that overall, this mental health issue is growing in all areas of the population. The minister noted that other countries are doing better in dealing with depression among their populations and he cited several cities in Iran that have the most cases of depression, including Tehran, Fars and Isfahan.
“Living in the city outskirts is another issue leading to depression. Widespread migration from villages to cities and their changing lifestyle cause the most severe psychological and spiritual damage, and those living in the city outskirts are dealing with the worst conditions,” he added.
More than 12% of adults in Iran suffer from depression and more than 14% of them have symptoms of anxiety disorders, according to Iran’s Health Ministry Office of Psychological and Social Health. They added that the total number of people suffering from mental disorders in Iran is over 23%.
Economic issues are also having an impact, as individuals deal with the stress of high unemployment and inflation. Despite the lifting of various sanctions, Iranians are seeing few changes within their country economically, which can have a negative mental impact, particularly on the younger generations.