Addis Ababa - Post Report Question and Answers

Are there any particular mental health issues that tend to crop up at post, such as Seasonal Affective Disorder (winter blues)?

Absolutely, but mostly due to restrictions. It is unsafe to travel in most of Ethiopia now and I don't see that changing. Flying out of the country is expensive (average ticket is $500). Living here feels a little bit like living during COVID and it can feel very claustrophobic. Other than stupidly expensive "bazaars" and drinking/eating (which is not super enjoyable), there is nothing to do. There are no parks, good theaters, interesting museums, cinemas, trails are off limits....and this seems to get to most expats eventually. - Dec 2023

Just the sense of isolation and not being able to travel to most of the country. - Aug 2023

I’ve haven’t heard of any. - Aug 2023

None that I am aware of. - Jul 2022

None that I know of. I don't know if this qualifies as a mental health issue, but most Americans where I work seem to hate it here, and from what I can tell, are unhappy to the extent of being miserable. - Jun 2021

Elevation is a killer. - Feb 2021

No. - Aug 2020

Ethiopian has a rainy season that lasts from May to September. - Mar 2020

People tend to be unhappy here. It is a very, very difficult city to live in. A lot of people have bouts of depression/sadness. Morale isn't great, and due to the limited freedom within the city, people struggle. You must be flexible to live here. The feeling of isolation can be overwhelming, especially for those who live in an area the doesn't fit their needs. If you have school-aged kids, you should be near the school. Distance and driving conditions warrant this. If you are single you want to be near areas with the most to do. Living near the US embassy feels cut off as there are limited resources (outside of the embassy) in that area. It isn't easy to get from one are to another. - Feb 2020

I mentioned above stress and depression. People are generally not happy here, but this comes from our view of all of the people we know. It's a very difficult post to be at especially if you have children and you actually spend time with them. There's nothing to do in the city. And there's a risk when you travel outside of the city. Maybe we're more cautious than others? - Feb 2019

Depression, as it feels tough, isolating and hectic here. It's also seems crowded and can feel very lonely. People don't have seasonal affective disorder but they definitely have depression. It's important to have a plan if you think you could experience depression or your children. I've heard of children leaving post because they have struggled here. - Aug 2018

Not that I know of, but many feel life is Addis is very stressful. - Jul 2018

Morale at post is very low, and people can feel discouraged about being here. - Jan 2018

People get stressed out, mainly from accumulated small stressors. There's also the chaotic driving, which has increased my swearing ten-fold. - Sep 2017

Morale stinks here I think. People are agitated and frustrated - the traffic/driving alone will just take years off of your life. I know I'm painting a dark picture but it's true. As I mentioned, we actually choose not to leave the house a majority of the time because of the: driving/traffic, lack of parking, potential to see dead/dying animals, extreme poverty that is just killing us (please note: I've been in development work for over ten years and have seen terrible/sad things, etc but on a daily basis, month after month for a year now? It's taking its toll.). Polio is a problem here too so it's not uncommon to see the repercussions of it - the begging is over the top. I think depression is a problem. Luckily I travel for work (although, to developing countries) but sometimes to Europe and the US. It helps getting out for sure. Then there's the airport though... - Aug 2016

Rainy season here is the worst I've ever seen. Much prefer actual winter over this. Often dark and dreary for weeks at a time. Impossible to get out, with poor quality of roads and little opportunity for exercise. We understand a lot of mission personnel are on antidepressants. - Aug 2016

Subscribe to our newsletter

New book from Talesmag! Honest and courageous stories of life abroad with special needs.

Read More