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12th Mar 2024

Ireland ranks in top 10 ‘most depressing places in the world’



We’re going through it.

There’s so much to be proud of as an Irish person, from our incredible award-winners to our stance on world events.

However, even we must admit, that the last few years have been rough.

With the never-ending housing crisis, the cost-of-living crisis, our cultural spaces being replaced by hotels and, not to mention, the endless weather warnings, Ireland has a whole load of issues to deal with right now.

Those issues have been firmly backed up with the results of new research, led by a not-for-profit neuroscience research body called Sapien Labs, claiming that Ireland currently ranks eighth on a list of “the most depressing places in the world.”

The research was carried out as part of the annual Global Mind Project, an organisation that seeks to track and understand this evolving relationship to inform the future health and well-being of society.

Since 2019, the group have claimed that there has been a global decline in mental well-being, saying that the past few years have seen ‘no sign of recovery’.

Out of the 71 countries studied, Ireland ranked 63rd for overall mental wellbeing.

People from all 71 countries included were asked to complete an online questionnaire known as the Mental Health Quotient (MHQ), which assessed their overall happiness and resilience in six areas.

From that, people were placed on a scale from -100 to 200, with the upper end being very satisfied.

Ireland earned a score of 55 on the scale, which is comparatively low when you consider the average global score was 65.

So, which country was ranked the most miserable place to live in the world?

That accolade went to Uzbekistan, just a point worse off than our neighbours in the UK, however, who ranked 2nd.

The research studied various dimensions of wellbeing including ‘mood and outlook’ and ‘adaptability and resilience’.

Ireland scored relatively low for ‘Drive & Motivation’, which is described as “Your ability to work towards achieving your desired goals and to initiate, persevere and complete activities in your daily life.”

Interestingly, the report has found that the wealthier a country is year on year, the lower it tends to score.

The happiest places in the world, the Dominican Republic, Sri Lanka and Tanzania, are all non-English speaking developing countries and are typically not known for their wealth and abundance.

In fact, Europe and North America did pretty poorly as continents in general.

Whilst well-being for those over 65 has remained steady, 18-24-year-olds across eight English-speaking countries’ mental health has shown the least improvement since 2020.

Furthermore, the study found that eating extra-processed goods results in much worse mental well-being across all age groups.

Yemen scored better than Ireland, the UK and Australia, scoring 59 for mental wellbeing – even though its 21.6 million population currently requires humanitarian assistance.

You can check out the full study here.