Depressed or not? It depends what you read


In 2011, we were still wondering whether the Dutch population was happy or not. On the list of world’s happiest countries in 2012 and 2013 (PDF) the Netherlands was fourth. However, researchers at University of Queensland in Australia have recently mapped the rates of depression around the world, and some results are surprising:

“The burden is highest in Afghanistan and in Middle Eastern and North African countries, as well as in Eritrea, Rwanda, Botswana, Gabon, Croatia, the Netherlands (!) and Honduras.”

I didn’t add the exclamation mark. Apparently, there are no obvious reasons why the Dutch population is depressed, only guesses: the weather (what about Belgium, the UK, etc.), going through a crisis (stress), not admitting you’re actually depressed (shame) and my personal favourite, readily available antidepressants to anybody feeling a bit blue. If 16% of the Dutch population is depressed and possibly on drugs to ‘feel’ happy, then yes, that’s depression, not happiness.

And actually since all of this is opinion and the research was not a survey of how people feel, the exclamation mark seems warranted.

(Photo of wilted tulip by Graham Keen, some rights reserved)

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