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10 African countries with the poorest mental state

10 African Countries With The Poorest Mental State

Mental health in Africa is a complex issue impacted by a variety of social, economic, and cultural factors. While mental health awareness and access to treatments have improved in certain areas, serious difficulties still exist across the continent. While Africa boasts relatively high levels of mental wellness, there are still some countries on the continent which on average have poor mental wellbeing.

According to the fourth annual Mental State of the World Report by Sapien Labs, titled “A Perspective on Internet-Enabled Populations,” which was published in March 2024, Mental well-being globally in 2023 remained at its post-pandemic low with no sign of getting back to its pre-pandemic levels.

Interesting mental health findings

The survey conducted by Sapien Labs revealed that Those over 65 showed stable mental wellness during the COVID-19 epidemic, whereas younger generations, especially those under 35, had the sharpest decreases.

Another interesting finding from the research showed that African and Latin American countries topped the list while countries from Europe ranked the lowest. This proved that wealth does not necessarily equate to better mental well-being.

It is important to note that the research is based on an online anonymous survey called the MHQ assessment, “a comprehensive online survey of cognitive and emotional capabilities that provides an overall mental wellbeing metric.” This denotes that the respondents represent the data of those who are digitally savvy, and not necessarily the entire population of the world.

As a result, using data from 27,969 respondents, Sapien Labs discovered that the younger a generation of today’s 18–24-year-olds was when they received their first smartphone, the worse their adult mental health outcomes would be.

Additionally, the survey found that those who consume ultra-processed foods are more likely to have poorer mental wellbeing. This data set cuts across all ages.

“A third factor discussed in our report last year is diminished family bonds. For example, across a sample of 407,959 respondents, we found that 10% of 18-24-year-olds did not get along with any of their family and preferred not to see them compared to only 3% of the oldest generation. At the same time, the risk of mental health challenges in adulthood is four times lower if you have close family relationships,” the report reads

With that said here are the 10 African countries with the poorest mental state.

RankCountryAverage MHQ
1.South Africa50
9.Cote d’Ivoire69


For the 2023 rankings, Sapien Labs gathered data from over 500,000 respondents in 13 languages across 71 nations and 9 regions. The MHQ assessment, a comprehensive online survey of cognitive and emotional capabilities, was used to collect data.

It provides an overall mental well-being metric (the MHQ score) as well as multiple-dimensional views related to coping with life’s stresses and functioning productively.

According to the report, “six-dimensional scores of Mood & Outlook, Social Self, Drive & Motivation, Adaptability & Resilience, Cognition, and Mind-Body Connection are also computed using subsets of the 47 assessed items to provide a more granular view. The scores are reported on a scale that is divided into positive and negative components.

The positive range of the scale represents the spectrum of normal functioning and is a 200-point scale calibrated to a mean of 100 based on pre-pandemic responses in 2019, similar to the IQ scale. The negative range of the scale represents mental well-being scores associated with a negative impact on the ability to function and is associated with clinical-level risks and challenges.”

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