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Thursday, April 18, 2024
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Zimbabwe is third happiest country in Africa according to the 2024 Mental State of the World report

A happy couple sharing a laugh

The Global Mind Project’s latest report, the “Mental State of the World”, has some concerning news. According to the report, mental well-being has been on the decline worldwide since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The report gathered responses from over 500 000 people in 71 countries, covering nine regions including Africa. It used six-dimensional scores to measure different aspects of mental health, such as mood, social self, motivation, adaptability, cognition, and mind-body connection.

The report highlights a worrying trend – the decline in mental well-being that began in 2019 and continued through the pandemic has not shown any signs of improvement.

Many people may have hoped that once lockdowns ended and the threat of Covid-19 decreased, mental health would start to recover.

However, data from 64 countries suggests otherwise, indicating that the effects of decreased mental well-being have become the new normal.

The report highlights a worrying trend - the decline in mental well-being that began in 2019 and continued through the COVID-19 pandemic has not shown any signs of improvement. Picture: Stan B /Unsplash
The report highlights a worrying trend – the decline in mental well-being that began in 2019 and continued through the COVID-19 pandemic has not shown any signs of improvement. Picture: Stan B /Unsplash

The Global Mind Project’s work aligns with the World Health Organization’s definition of mental well-being, which focuses on an individual’s ability to handle life’s stresses and contribute to society.

The project aims to provide a comprehensive and economically relevant perspective on emotional, social, and cognitive capabilities, rather than just traditional views of happiness or life satisfaction.

The World Happiness Report, which assesses global happiness in over 150 countries, has declared Finland the happiest for the sixth consecutive year.

Among the top-ranking countries, Nordic nations reign supreme, with Denmark securing the second position and Iceland following at number three.

The report also explores happiness inequality, analysing the gap between the most and least happy populations.

Findings suggest that countries with smaller happiness gaps tend to have happier citizens. The report also looks at happiness inequality, finding that countries with smaller happiness gaps tend to have happier citizens.

Surprisingly, the report challenges the idea that wealth leads to happiness. It shows that mental well-being has remained the same worldwide since 2021, and the rankings of countries have not changed much.

Many Latin American and African countries are at the top of the happiness rankings, while countries in the Anglosphere are at the bottom.

The report states, “In our annual report for 2021 we showed that the average mental wellbeing scores of the Internet-enabled populations of countries were strongly and significantly negatively correlated with economic metrics such as per capita GDP and even the Human Development Index.”

The UK scored relatively low on the Mental Health Quotient (MHQ) at 49, while over 10 African countries scored above 60 on the MHQ. Tanzania has the highest score at 88, followed closely by Nigeria and Zimbabwe, 83 and 74 respectively.

In the report, Kenya is in 4th place with a Mental Health Quotient of 72. The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) follows closely in 5th place with a score of 72, while Mozambique ranks 6th with a score of 70. Côte d’Ivoire takes the 7th spot with a ranking of 69, followed by Cameroon at 67, and Tunisia also at 67.

Securing the 10th spot is Angola with a ranking of 64.

In Africa, happiness gaps are widening in 2024. In 2023, the report highlighted the top 10 happiest countries on the continent, with Mauritius claiming the first spot with a happiness score of 5.902.

Algeria closely followed with a score of 5.392, and South Africa secured the third position with a score of 5.275. Other countries in the top 10, in order, were Congo DRC, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Gabon, Nigeria, Cameroon, and Mozambique.

The 2024 Sapien Lab Mental State of the World report revealed that South Africa, with a mental health quotient of 50, ranks 69 out of 71 countries and has the greatest percentage of distressed or struggling respondents at 35%.

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