Depression is a significant public health problem, about 7 million Nigerians currently suffer from it. With the high poverty rate of the country, and the difficulties faced by Nigerians every day, the prevalence of depression among Nigerians will continue to increase. Although it affects all sex, women are disproportionately affected. WHO reports states that 50% females are depressed compared to males which is no-brainer. In Nigeria, over 50% of women are illiterates, most are unemployed, underemployed all leading to low socioeconomic status. Other factors which keeps women depressed includes gender-based violence experienced by females, societal stigma of being unmarried, a single mother, divorcée, a married woman with no child or yet to have a male child, widows all of which must get a fair share from depression. This is an eye opener on the role that culture and society play in the prevalence of health problems in the country. Depression is a common occurrence amongst Immunocompromised individuals such as those living with HIV/AIDS, leprosy, physically challenged individuals, elderly citizens particularly because of social adversity and difficulties they encounter daily.
In addition to the bucket list, majority of Nigerians lack awareness about mental health and even people who try to speak openly about this issue trying to seek help, are not taking seriously as they are labelled weak, lazy or dishonesty, seeking attention or even given spiritual undertone by religious leaders. Also, there is a huge gap between the mental health services and the masses as we have less than one psychiatrist per 500,000 people. Bad as it gets, our national mental health policy has not been significantly reviewed in almost 30 years.
What can we do in our little spaces? The first step towards is raising awareness and talking about it. Now you know, let’s talk about simple individual steps in tackling this accelerating epidemic:
• Happiness is subjective only you can decide how happy you are, learn to be happy while you are waiting for the things you want. Find joy in simple moments and process.
• If you have an issue don’t die in silence reach out to people don’t box yourself
• Learn to check on people (friends, families, neighbors, colleagues) and give a listening ear to their concerns.
• Never compare yourself with others, be happy and have a sense of contentment with life as you strive daily
• Practice simple exercises like mindfulness meditation, and adopting healthy habits would help improve your mental health
• More importantly, only those who can think of the goodness of God can be thankful.
• Don’t sweat about small stuff; most often the things we worry about are no big deal
• Modify behavior and lifestyle, make healthy choices
• When all is said and done, its family over everything. As we go through life, make conscious efforts to invest in family relationships and build friendships that last.
We are faced with enough stress of life, most of which are self-inflicted in one way or another, sometimes without even realizing it. Too much pressure can make a lot of us angry, fed up or sad and even affects our health negatively. This pressure comes with lots of...