Depressive symptoms, suicidal ideation, and mental health care-seeking in central Mozambique.

Publication Date:

17 Jul 2019


Halsted S, Ásbjörnsdóttir KH, Wagenaar BH, Cumbe V, Augusto O, Gimbel S, et al. (2019). Depressive symptoms, suicidal ideation, and mental health care-seeking in central Mozambique. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol. 54(12), 1519-33. doi: 10.1007/s00127-019-01746-2



There is scant research on depressive symptoms (DS), suicidal ideation (SI), and mental health care-seeking in Mozambique.

Generalized estimating equations were used to assess factors associated with DS, SI, and mental health care-seeking among 3080 individuals interviewed in a representative household survey in Sofala and Manica provinces, Mozambique.

19% (CI 17–21%) of respondents reported DS in the past year and 17% (CI 15–18%) lifetime SI. Overall, only 10% (CI 8–11%) of respondents ever sought any care for mental illness, though 26% (CI 23–29%) of those reporting DS and/or SI sought care. 90% of those who sought care for DS received treatment; however, only 46% of those who sought care for SI received treatment. Factors associated with DS and SI include: female gender, divorced/separated, widowed, and > 55 years old. Respondents in the bottom wealth quintile reported lower DS, while those in upper wealth quintiles reported higher prevalence of SI. Individuals with DS or SI had significantly elevated measures of disability—especially in doing household chores, work/school activities, standing for long periods, and walking long distances. Factors associated with care-seeking include: female gender, rural residence, divorced/separated, and > 45 years old. Individuals in lower wealth quintiles and with no religious affiliation had lower odds of seeking care.

DS and SI are prevalent in central Mozambique and treatment gaps are high (68% and 89%, respectively). An urgent need exists for demand- and supply-side interventions to optimize the delivery of comprehensive community-based mental healthcare in Mozambique.


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