Depression and anxiety rates surge in Czechia

The last two decades have seen a 600-percent increase in the number of people taking antidepressants.

Thomas Smith

Written by Thomas Smith Published on 21.02.2023 12:33:00 (updated on 22.02.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

Depression and anxiety are on the rise in Czechia. Data from the Czech Association of Health and Insurance Companies (SZP) shows that in the past two years the amount of people who have sought medical help for the mental health conditions has tripled.

A worrying trend

The number of people taking antidepressants in Czechia has increased by six times in the past 20 years, ČTK quotes the SZP as saying.

Today, about one in 10 women and 6 percent of all men suffer from an anxiety disorder or depression.

Czechia registered the highest increase in antidepressant usage across the whole of Europe in the first two decades of the 21st century, according to Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development data.

The National Institute of Mental Health reported last year that every third Czech suffers from a form of mental illness. Over 60 percent of all depression sufferers are women.

Recent events such as Covid-19 (and subsequent lockdowns) and the Ukraine war in part explain the sharp rise in societal mental health issues. Rates of diagnosed depression jumped three times during the pandemic, and a 2022 study found that about half of all Ukrainian refugees in Czechia have symptoms of mental illness.

"For some of us, just the threat of something tragic or negative can have enough power to make a person anxious." - Marek Preiss, lead psychologist of the National Institute of Mental Health.

Roughly 20 percent of adolescents in the population have some kind of mental illness or are at risk of developing it. The severe lack of child and adolescent psychiatrists in Czechia – one of the lowest per capita rates in the EU – has also recently rung alarm bells nationwide.

Czechs’ mental health appears to be taking a turn for the worse. In 2021, 756,000 people were officially diagnosed with a mental illness – over 100,000 more than in 2010. Experts, however, say that the de facto number of people with mental health conditions is likely much higher in the country.

Director of the National Institute for Mental Health Petr Winkler has previously remarked that the Czech Republic’s mental health literacy is low, and that businesses in Czechia are not doing enough to combat the rising tide of mental health issues for their employees.

The growing number of people with depression and anxiety in Czechia – paired with the country’s current shortage of (both child and adult) psychologists – paints an unsettling picture for the years ahead.


  • #delamcomuzu is a project offering mental health support to expats.
  • has a number of online therapy sessions for English speakers.
  • The Czech government has a helpline on 1221 that includes mental-health support.
  • Visit our directory of mental health experts to book an online therapy session.
  • Charles University offers individual or group psychological counseling in English FREE for full-time students at the university.
  • Prague Integration offers individual and group support specifically designed for expats in Prague.
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