Facts about mental health problems in African youths.

  • 1 in 7 (14.3%) of African youths experience significant psychological challenges
  • 1 in 10 (9.5%) qualify for psychiatric diagnosis


Common mental health problems in African youths include:

  • Emotional and behavioral problems (40.8%)
    • Peer problems
    • Conduct problems
    • Emotional symptoms
    • Hyperactivity
  • Depression (26.9%)
  • Anxiety disorders (29.8%)
  • PTSD (21.5%)
  • Suicidal thoughts (20.8%)


Risk/Contributing factors to mental health problems in African youths are:

  • Gender (Female)
  • Familial
  • Poverty
  • Substance use
  • Adverse childhood experience
    • Orphanhood
    • Caregiver abuse
    • Exposure to trauma/violence
    • Street living
    • Out-of-school exposure


Implications for program intervention.

  • Include mental health care in educational, health, social care and community levels.
  • Add mental health intervention to community-centered programs targeting;
    • Female empowerment
    • HIV/AIDS prevention
    • Reproductive and Sexual health
    • Hard to reach groups such as homeless. orphanhood and out-of-school youths



1. Jörns-Presentati A, Napp A-K, Dessauvagie AS, Stein DJ, Jonker D, Breet E, et al. (2021) The prevalence of mental health problems in sub-Saharan adolescents: A systematic review. PLoS ONE 16(5): e0251689.

2. Jumbe, S., Kamninga, T.M., Mwalwimba, I. et al. (2021). Determinants of adolescent substance use in Africa: a systematic review and meta-analysis protocol. Syst Rev 10, 125 (2021).


Created October 11, 2022

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