Of unexplained physical symptoms, such as tiredness,

Of unexplained physical symptoms, such as tiredness,

Of the ten leading causes of disability worldwide, five are neuro-psychiatric disorders. Of these, depression is the most common, accounting for more than one in ten disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) lost (Murray & Lopez, 1996). one DALY is calculated as one year lost from healthy life. Depression occurs approximately twice as often in women as in men, and commonly presents with unexplained physical symptoms, such as tiredness, aches and pains, dizziness, palpitations and sleep problems (Katon & Walker, 1998; Hotopf et al., 1998).

It is the most frequently encountered women’s mental health problem and the leading women’s health problem overall. Rates of depression in women of reproductive age are expected to increase in developing countries, and it is predicted that, by 2020, unipolar major depression will be the leading cause of DALYs lost by women (Murray & Lopez, 1996). More than 150 million people experience depression each year worldwide.Reproductive health programmes need to acknowledge the importance of mental health problems for women, and incorporate activities to address them in their services.

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Reproductive health conditions also make a major contribution to the global burden of disability, particularly for women, accounting for 21.9% of DALYs lost for women annually compared with only 3.1% for men (Murray & Lopez, 1998).

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