Nigeria: "No Be For Naija, We Love Life" – Demystifying Depression In Nigeria

Editor’s Note: This particular week’s Thought Leadership piece comes through Dr. Mike Adeyemi Lawal, he is usually a physician with experience in Global health, operational research along with advocacy. He demystifies the misconceptions which many Nigerians have about depression through a simple question along with answer format along with reminds us all which depression “no dey show for face.”

End of year festivities are always a great time to hang out with friends along with family, reflect on the events inside the year along with catch up on all the activities which you have missed out on in others’ lives. At one of those hangouts, the topic of depression along with suicide popped up along with I was quite shocked at the level of misconception surrounding This particular topic.

Depression is usually a common along with serious medical illness which affects how you feel, the way you think along with how you act. This particular is usually different through usual mood fluctuations along with short-lived emotional responses to challenges in everyday life. Especially when long-lasting along with with moderate or severe intensity, depression may become a serious health condition. This particular can cause the affected person to suffer greatly along with function poorly at work, at school along with inside the family.

While working as a junior casualty doctor inside the Accident & Emergency section of a tertiary facility in Nigeria, a teenage girl died a few minutes after arriving at the facility which has a history of ingestion of the insecticide popularly called “sniper”. The incident resulted through an unresolved argument with her siblings along with because no one bothered to listen to her, she killed herself. The trigger for suicide through a depressed mind could be as simple as This particular.

Sadly, I have noticed which in suicide cases, the victim is usually seen as the villain. This particular is usually not uncommon to hear comments like “which was so selfish. Why would certainly he/she do which? which’s not fair on his/her spouse, children or parents”. To demystify depression along with hopefully help people understand why a depressed person would certainly want to take their life, I decided to do a Q&A on This particular topic devoid of technical medical terminology.

What is usually the noise about depression, after all, everyone feels sad?
No, depression is usually way more than just feeling sad. This particular is usually an illness which requires a great deal of care; however, unlike illnesses which affect physical health, depression, on the some other hand, affects mental health along with in its worst form, can lead to suicide.

This particular is usually evil to think of suicide or even commit suicide, what is usually wrong with This particular generation?
Suicide resulting through depression is usually not a form of martyrdom or a way of abdicating responsibility. Severe forms of depression bring about suicidal thoughts which the individual cannot control. In some cases, the individuals hear voices urging them on along with This particular does not make them witches or wizards. This particular is usually an imbalance in what is usually referred to as neurotransmitters. These are types of hormones inside the brain which transmit information through one nerve to another.

Why the sudden increase inside the number of suicide cases?
According to WHO, depression is usually a common illness. Globally, over 300 million people are affected along with 7 million of these cases might just be your neighbours, friends or family members if you live in Nigeria. Depression is usually a leading mental disorder among those who die by suicide along with for every suicide, there are more than 20 attempts.

No be for Naija, we love life!
genuinely! Depression is usually not completely new to our society. Although the paucity of data along with sociocultural beliefs reflect otherwise, Nigeria is usually currently ranked 15th inside the entire world for suicide which has a risk of one suicide in every 6,000 population. Depression has been culturally stereotyped, along with suicide extremely stigmatised along with these have presented a huge obstacle to accessing care along with collating quality data. Nonetheless, the advent of social media has led to increased ease in disseminating along with sharing of information.

Why would certainly someone be depressed to the extent of committing suicide, particularly a young person with Great prospects in life?
Suicide is usually the second leading cause of death among young people along with depression is usually a major risk for suicide. There is usually no one single cause of depression; however, This particular flourishes on several risk factors. Top among them is usually a family history of depression, loneliness, traumatic experiences like rape, emotional assault/abuse, loss of loved ones, job loss or failed investments with no proper care.

How do I identify signs of depression?
As is usually commonly said in Nigeria, “e no dey show for face”. Signs of depression are often not obvious nevertheless these behavioral alterations could be pointers; feeling of worthlessness along with hopelessness, as well as loss of interest along with energy. Others include withdrawal, poor sleep patterns, poor eating habits, a feeling of guilt along with poor concentration. All these may not become obvious at the same time nevertheless they are often a continuum culminating in suicidal thoughts.

How do I help?
There are 7.7 billion people inside the entire world. Loneliness along with lack of emotional support are increasing. Relationships along with communal support are becoming shallow. which neighbor who has suddenly become withdrawn might need someone to talk to along with you might just be the right person. You can also help by becoming familiar with organisations along with experts who offer mental health support, in order which you can point someone to the right direction if they are struggling. For instance, Mentally Aware Nigeria Initiative (MANI) raises awareness on mental health along with illnesses along with connects people with mental health illness with mental health professionals.