SUICIDES: Nigeria’s People most Depressed in Africa -Medical Expert

By: Ade Adeleke

A Medical Officer with the Ondo state Neuropsychriatic, Hospital Akure, Dr Adebayo Akingunoye has religious leaders not to spiritualize depression but encourage patients to seek medical help.

Dr Akingunoye gave the advice while addressing over 200 teenagers of The Redeemed Christian Church of God, RCCG, Glory Tabernacle, Ijapo Estate Akure at a special service tagged ‘Lets Talk Depression’.

Depression has been blamed for the increasing rate of suicides among teenagers by stakeholders.

The Medical expert expressed regrets that Nigeria is the most depressed country in Africa with highest number of depressed people, as well as ranks tops in the world on depression according to statistics from the World Health Organisation.

Akingunoye hinged this ugly scenario on the poor standard of living in the country with attendant immeasurable stress for the people.

He said because Nigeria is a highly religious nation, most people seek reprieve in places of worship for the slightest medical challenge when they should get help in the hospitals.

He explained that depression which is a mental challenge, that could lead to suicide has claimed lots of lives not minding their religious status of affinity of victims thus necessitating the need for those with symptoms to seek medical help.

The medical expert listed signs of depression to Include consistent low mood, loss of interest in one’s passion, negative thoughts and loss of drive for live.

“We all have a role to end the menace of depression. Pastors should please refer those with signs of depression for necessary counselling and treatment while they keep praying for them. Even the bible wants us to be in good health, even as our soul prospers. We must all say no to depression” Akingunoye advised.

He specifically warned the teenagers to mindful of their interface with the social media which he noted has promoted the upsurge the cases of depression and suicide in recent times.

” Avoid the social media as much as possible and engage in physical exercises if you are bored. This will even help to develop your mind and brain. If you are not careful, you can lose your self esteem with too much exposure to the social media when you start getting intimidated by boast or posts your friends when might actually be living a fake life” He warned.

Some of the teenagers at the service, Jonathan Okpara, Oluwatimileyin Ojajuni and Mayowa Olatona said they have now learnt to speak out, and reach out to friends who show signs of depression, but advised parents to reduce what they described as undue pressure on them to succeed academically which has led many into depression.

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