An Abuja based psychologist, Dr. Stephen Odey, has advised Nigerians to be sensitive to the troubles that come with depression by having open conversations on the topic.
Giving the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Wednesday in Abuja, Odey enjoined Nigerians to manage their stress levels to prevent mental health diagnosis.
He described depression as a mental illness mainly caused by stress that many Nigerians shied away from and viewed as a form of weakness or abnormality.
“Depression is a disorder characterised by persistently low moods and a constant feeling of sadness and loss of interest.
“It is mainly associated with emotional and physical stress which can be instigated by an overwhelming event or situation such as the death of a loved one, financial struggles, stress from work and more.
“We should understand that depression is something that when not handled properly, can end up causing the patient to be suicidal and eventually end up killing themselves,’’ said the expert.
Odey said that Nigerians need to stop viewing depression as an embarrassing situation and begin to watch out for signs of depression in the people around them.
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“Nigerians tend to see this disorder as a weakness and abnormality that does not happen among Africans.
“We believe that it is our culture to be strong individuals and to pray for God to fix problems we are facing, but life can be a lot more overwhelming and complicated than that.
“The stress in Nigeria is overwhelming and this is why I think we have to talk about this more often because many people are shy to talk about it and scared of being criticised by many.
“We have to be observant of the behaviour of people around us and be aware of possible personality shifts which could indicate that the person is depressed.
“Such shifts could include an individual’s need to withdraw from people, stay alone, become quiet, regularly look sad and having low energy.
“Depression is not to be taken lightly and checking on our loved ones constantly can help save a life.
“It is important to take care of ourselves by putting ourselves first and ensuring that we don’t get consumed by our situations.
“I tell people to make sure they enjoy their moments with loved ones, have fun, take care of their body and only do their best at their jobs,” he said.
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