Cambodia Crowned the Region’s Saddest Country

A survey has revealed that 42 percent of respondents in Cambodia related to being sad, which a psychotherapist has blamed on a huge economic imbalance, lack of mental health care and Khmer Rouge legacy.
Buddhist monks walk through ruins in Angkor Wat. Kiripost/via Pixabay
Buddhist monks walk through ruins in Angkor Wat. Kiripost/via Pixabay

Cambodia was found to be the saddest Southeast Asian country in 2021, with 42 percent of respondents experiencing sadness, global analysts Gallup said in a measure of more than 100 countries through extensive surveys.

In one survey conducted between 2021 and early-2022, the global analytic firm recorded “yes,” “no” and “don’t know or refuse to answer” responses from respondents aged 15 and older, NextShark reported this week.

In the survey, respondents were asked about their emotions, including stress levels, anger and sadness, the day before the survey was conducted, according to NextShark.

Gallup also found Cambodia to be the saddest country in Southeast Asia, with 42 percent of respondents saying they experienced sadness. The Philippines ranked second, with 35 percent of respondents answering “yes”, while Vietnam comes in third with 27 percent.

Or Vandine, Secretary of State and spokesperson for the Ministry of Health, said on Wednesday that she was too busy to comment on the issue.

Psychotherapist Yim Sotheary said on Wednesday that the Khmer Rouge legacy and an imbalance in economic growth countrywide are the main factors that contribute to people’s sadness.

“It is also because of the high economic growth but it is an imbalance. Some are very rich and some are poor,” Sotheary told Kiripost.

Sotheary said mental health has not been taken care of and wondered how many therapists there are at the Ministry of Health.

“We can’t deny sadness in our daily lives but if there are interventions, it would help, but we have none,” she said, adding that there isn't even a national budget dedicated to mental health. “If we get sick and there is no treatment, it's a problem,” she said, adding focus should be paid to improving life quality especially among youth, who form a big chunk of the population.

“Many people are in debt. I’ve seen a lot, some people just work to pay off debt,” she said, urging people to listen and support each other.

Singapore is noted to be the least angry and least sad country in the region, NextShark said.