This dossier offers an overview of recent (scientific) publications about leprosy related mental health.
Mental health focusses on the absence or presence of a mental disorder and/or its physiological consequences. It can be described as feeling good and having the ability to cope with negative feelings. Mental health decreases when negative feelings are extreme or long- lasting and start to interfere with daily life functioning.
Mental health grows when a person
- is able to develop his/her potential;
- has control over his/her life;
- experiences positive relationships.
The most commonly diagnosed mental problems are depression and anxiety disorders.
An increased prevalence of mental distress is found in people affected by leprosy. This is because of disease impairments as well as societal influences, such as stigma and discrimination. Symptoms of a depression is often diagnosed in people affected by leprosy who:
- are isolated from the community;
- are living alone;
- have difficulty with self-care and daily activities;
- have visible impairments.