According to new figures released by Iran’s Ministry of Health, 21 million Iranians suffer from mental disorders which means that one in four Iranians are affected.
According to the recent statistics, 23.4% of adults in Iran have experienced a psychiatric disorder over the past year, of which 27.6% are women and 19.4% are men. Depression also accounts for about a third of mental illnesses, according to the report.
Majid Sadeghi, the vice chairman of the Iranian Psychological Association, believes that the figures on mental illness exceed many physical illnesses.
“After cardiovascular diseases and road accidents, mental illnesses have the highest rates in the country and one in four families are affected,” he said, adding that anxiety and depression made up about two-thirds of mental illness.
Young people suffer the most from mental illnesses in Iran and new generations are most likely to be affected.
According to the report, despite the fact that the current economic conditions in Iran can be an underlying factor in the increase of mental illnesses, it cannot be considered as the only reason behind the surge.
The report says that affluent Iranians living in northern Tehran suffer as much as the poverty-stricken population in southern Tehran.
“In general, the atmosphere of the community, including the economic crises, cultural issues, livelihood conditions, and the social and political challenges in Iran are all factors that affect people’s mental health,” the report said.
A serious problem that psychological patients face is the lack of insurance coverage. Some experts even believe that people with depression who are not referred to professionals or counselors due to the high cost of treatment are likely to be among the five thousand who commit suicide every year.
Indeed, the root causes of psychological problems in Iran are economic pressures, social anomalies and institutionalized repression. Iranians, especially the younger generations, have lost hope in their future.
The change in the status quo is the only answer to Iran’s mental disorder epidemic which will only be possible with regime change and the establishment of a democratic society where Iranians can finally prosper.