January 11, 2022

What you should know about depression, suicide (2)

Welcome to this week’s mental health conversation, this is a chat room where we discuss the basics of our mental health in order for us to understand and have a full grasp of the rudiments of mental health and well-being.

This is part of our mental health advocacy activities aimed at promoting our wholesome wellness, prevention of mental illness, improving our awareness of mental illness, understanding that effective, qualitative and modern (technology based) mental health services are available to ensure quality living, harmonious interpersonal relationships, peaceful coexistence within our communities and enhancement of our commonwealth.That we can discuss mental health in major public forum like this and social media is a significant stride for global mental health and specifically, our local mental health advocacy! Especially considering the enormity of social, cultural and traditional barriers to such discussions.

A FTER several sessions, he felt much better and happier, interest in work was better and he was no longer contemplating to resign, and, everyone was happy. Eighteen months later, the feeling of distress returned and this time with discomforting preoccupation with thoughts of death.

His parents and siblings couldn’t understand why he could be experiencing such emotional turmoil despite that he lacked nothing. He couldn’t think straight and was exploring ways of how to end the “disabling distress”.

He became apologetic to his wife and his sister, telling his wife that he has saddled her with responsibility of bringing up their children.

He pleaded with his sister to apologise to their parents for not living up to their expectations.

Four weeks ago, the wife returned from work and found a suicide note on the dining table and his corpse hanging from the ceiling!

READ ALSO: Vaccination against COVID-19 reduces depression, anxiety — STUDY

Depression is a mental health disorder characterised by persistently sad/depressed mood or loss of interest in pleasurable activities (including work) or loss of energy or a combination of any of these symptoms, causing significant impairment in daily life.

Depression is a common mental disorder affecting more than 264 million people worldwide and about eight million (4 percent) Nigerians (female 5 percent; male 3.6 percent) and suicide is a dreaded complication of depression.

Possible causes include a complex interaction between biological, psychological and social factors (sources of distress). Increasingly, research suggests that these factors may lead to alteration in some chemicals (neurotransmitters) in the brain that can cause changes in brain function, including altered activity of certain neural circuits in the brain.

The persistent feeling of sadness or loss of interest that characterises major depression can lead to a range of behavioral and physical symptoms. These may include changes in sleep, appetite, energy level, sexual drive, concentration, self confidence or self-esteem. Depression can also be associated with thoughts or planning of suicide. Depression is a leading cause of disability around the world and contributes greatly to the global burden of disease.

The effects of depression can be long-lasting or recurrent and can dramatically affect a person’s ability to function and live a rewarding life.

Effective treatment for depression is available at the hospitals and in some states even at primary health care facilities including private clinics in Nigeria and, the mainstay of treatment is usually medication, talks therapy (psychological/psychotherapy), lifestyle adjustment (social) or a combination of the three (the combination has been shown to be more effective than using only one of them).

Increasingly, research suggests that these treatments may normalise brain changes associated with depression and lead to recovery.

Access to effective treatment in this part of the world is significantly limited by lack of awareness, misconceptions and stigma.

I hope today’s conversation will add value to your understanding of depression and suicide, Depression can have a profound effect on all aspects of our lives, including performance at school, productivity at work, relationships with family and friends, and ability to participate in the community.

There are strong relationships between depression and physical health, including infections (such as tuberculosis, Covid-19), diabetes and cardiovascular disease (such as hypertension and heart disease).

Depression affects all types of people, young and old, rich and poor in all countries. Women are more likely to have depression than men.

Next time we shall be discussing mental disorders.

Note:  If you have comments, questions and  contributions, please reach out to us on: +2348037004611 or email us at

Readers’ comments

Are these symptoms of mental health?

Dear Prof,

Thank you for your contribution on the above subject matter.

Could the following be  symptoms of mental health:

1. A lady of 30 years does not show interest in marriage        and having children, and does not have known                  relationship with opposite sex.

2. She hardly go out, is a freelance writer for media                houses oversea. She does not disclose the names of the      media houses nor make her articles available to family        members.

3. Mostly on her own, occasionally comes out of her              room.

4. Goes out occasionally to meet with friends unknown to      members of her family in locations she does not               disclose.

5. Had suffered from depression.

6. Suspected to have taken drugs some years ago.

How could she be assisted?

Kindly consider this as a private affair.

Thank you.


Why is SG depressed?

Good day Sir,

What is the cause of SG’s depression despite the fact he is well established at a young age?

Philip from Philip