A patient at the JFK Medical Center and E.S. Grant Mental Health Hospital in Monrovia, Liberia. Photo credit: World Bank/Dominic Chavez
When American film actor Robin Williams, who suffered from depression, committed suicide two years ago, Kenyan humour writer Ted Malanda feigned incredulity. “I can’t wrap my mind around the fact that depression is an illness…In fact, it is such a non-issue that African languages never bothered to create a word for it,” he wrote in his newspaper, The Standard, under the headline “How Depression Has Never Been an African Disease.”
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