DEPRESSION-RELATED DISTRESS IN MAURITIAN AND SOUTH AFRICAN ADOLESCENT GIRLS: AN EXPLORATORY INVESTIGATION1


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Abstract

Summary.Self-reports of depression-related distress were obtained from girls of 14 to 17 years of age living in communities of low socioeconomic status in Mauritius (n = 198) and South Africa (n = 275). Of the girls in the two samples, 26.3 and 21.5%, respectively, had thought about self-harm during the past 5 yr., while between 14.6 and 16.7% had made self-harm attempts. Also, 39.9% of the Mauritian girls and 31.0% of the South Africans reported being sad and tearful every day for more than 2 wk. over the past year. Of the girls, Mauritians (54.0%) and South Africans (32.1%) felt their problems were too much to cope with, while 20.4% of the South African girls and 44.4% of the Mauritians knew of no place to go for help when feeling sad or depressed. The findings highlight the extent of depression-related symptoms and issues related to access to mental health services. Increasing mental health services and awareness programmes are indicated.

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