By Esther Onyegbula
With the increasing incidence of people committing suicide in Nigeria as a result of poorly managed depression, experts have called on Nigerians to reach out and seek help when they have mental health issues.
The call was made during a one day sensitisation workshop organised by Centre for Individual and Child Development (CICD) titled ‘let’s talk depression’ held at Redeemed Christian Church of God, (RCCG) Emmanuel Throne Odusanmi, Ogba in Lagos.
The workshop centred on the principles of human flourishing, wellbeing and living a life leveraging positive emotions, healthier habits and powerful self-awareness practices, as the guests and participants shared personal stories and practical ways of addressing depression and the rising suicide rate among Nigerians.
According to the Executive Director, Centre for Individual and Child Development (CICD), Chizoba Akunne, no one is immune to depression, so as long as you have a brain, you can succumb to it. Some people are vulnerable due to their biological condition, or any other facet, which many therapists have to look out for. It can also be a combination of different factors. More importantly, victims of depression need to open up and talk to people – that way, it becomes easy to identify the problem,” she added.
In her presentation, finding hope in the mist of the storm Joy Iseki, a certified therapist and author, lamented that depression is on the increase in this part of the world because people suppress their emotions, pretend, cover up issues and interpret their problems negatively. Suicide is the final bus stop of depression it is the final point of hopelessness. This is why the issue of depression needs to be nibbled in the bud before it gets out of hand.
While speaking on Identifying and dealing with trauma, the Chief Responsibility Officer Weibty Impact Resources (WIR) Bunmi Olukoga noted that westernisation is contributed to the increasing rate of depression and suicide. The social media impact and the volume of information that is available at our disposal is beyond what you can even interpret. Recently my neighbour’s child committed suicide and it was discovered that she watched it from the internet. A lot of religious people are depressed. That is the reasons why they do things not having any understand. Unfortunately they don’t realise it till it gets very late when they begin to see symptoms.”
According to Helen Egbe, Programs administrator Cakasa Ebenezer Foundation and a major sponsor of the workshop, a lot of Nigerian shy away from mental health issue. In Nigeria we associate our cultural believes and religious conviction with mental health issues. Unfortunately the issue of stigmatisation has force people with mental health issues to pretend that all is well. It is only when people stop this stigmatisation that people who are depressed would come out and seek help and solutions to the problems. Stigmatisation is one of the reasons why people who are depressed take the suicide option. Also people don’t know where to seek help because as a people we like to cover up. Also the government at all levels should be responsible enough to its citizens they should awareness campaign; there should be places where people can go for therapy, where people can go and get the help they need”.
Other speakers at the workshop were: Olatunji Rockdweller (inspirational speaker/ Relationship coach) who spoke on the role of self love in dealing with depression Olatunji Rockdweller, Suzan Ade Coker CEO Rant HQ who spoke on Depression and its effects from social media angle and Pastor Jerome Asedegbega who talked on Where is God in the mist of the storm.