Mental health and poverty
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People living with mental illness (particularly severe mental illness) are frequently stigmatised, shunned, and excluded from mainstream society. This is as true in Africa as it is in societies around the world.
Those with schizophrenia, bipolar mood disorder and epilepsy are frequently subjected to human rights abuses. They are often cast aside because of beliefs that psychosis or epileptic seizures are signs of demon possession or evil spirits. And they are denied access to life changing treatment.
There are strong links between mental health and poverty. In a large review of 115 studies from 36 low and middle-income countries we found that poverty was strongly associated with common mental disorders. These included depression, anxiety and somatosensory disorders (psychological disorders with inconsistent physical symptoms). The study included several African countries.