In South Africa, the lifetime prevalence of MDD documented in the South African Stress and Health survey, was 9.8% across all age groups, with the highest prevalence (14.6%) in the Free State. MDD is characterised by single or recurrent major depressive episodes. The essential feature of a major depressive episode is a period of at least two weeks of depressed mood with abnormalities of neurovegetative functions (eg appetite, weight loss, sleep disturbances), psychomotor activity (eg loss of energy and interests, agitation or retardation), cognition (feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness or inappropriate guilt), as well as anxiety and suicidal ideation.

Depression affects over 300 million individuals worldwide [Image: Shutterstock].

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