#TheSocialStand – Do Nigerians Really Unders...

#TheSocialStand – Do Nigerians Really Understand Depression?

To mark World Health Day, the very first edition of our new video series The Social Stand hits the site.

To some people, depression is nothing but a word yet to a few class of people, it must be taken seriously as it is seen as the root of all suicidal approaches. Depression is a state of low mood and aversion to activity that can affect a person’s thoughts, behaviour, feelings, and sense of well being. The rate of suicidal activities in Nigeria has recently risen to an all time high so we took to the street to ask a cross section of people what they understand by the word depression. But, do Nigerians really understand what depression is?


According to Mrs Halimat Ojo, a road side fast-moving-goods(FMG) seller, she said “depression is only for the rich. In her words, why should I be depressed when I am always comfortable with the little God has given me? Only those who are not satisfied with the little they have can feel depressed and that is why you see those rich people committing suicide. As for me and my household, we are always happy with whatever we have.


Another trader, Mr Anyanwu Chinedu said, is the economic situation of this country not enough reason for one to be depressed? By his own definition, he opined that everyone in the country is depressed. According to him, he said, the persistent rise in the price of goods and services yet with a never growing income is enough to get everyone depressed. He further raised the issue of the MMM which is opined that many people subscribed to the idea of the MMM because they found it as the only saving grace they could rely upon since the leaders they voted for have failed them.

Finally, we caught up with a medical practitioner, Dr Aluko Christopher, he said depression is a “common but serious mood disorder. It causes severe symptoms that affect how you feel, think, and handle daily activities, such as sleeping, eating, or working. To be diagnosed with depression, the symptoms must be present for at least two weeks. He also advised that we as people should be more tolerant of one another. He however concluded that the government must do all in her power to cub the growing rise of suicide in the country.”


Depression Is Different From Sadness or Grief/Bereavement

The death of a loved one, loss of a job or the ending of a relationship are difficult experiences for a person to endure. It is normal for feelings of sadness or grief to develop in response to such situations. Those experiencing loss often might describe themselves as being “depressed.” But being sad is not the same as having depression. The grieving process is natural and unique to each individual and shares some of the same features of depression.

Both grief and depression may involve intense sadness and withdrawal from usual activities. They are also different in important ways:

In grief, painful feelings come in waves, often intermixed with positive memories of the deceased. In major depression, mood and/or interest (pleasure) are decreased for most of two weeks.

In grief, self-esteem is usually maintained. In major depression, feelings of worthlessness and self-loathing are common. For some people, the death of a loved one can bring on major depression. Losing a job or being a victim of a physical assault or a major disaster can lead to depression for some people.

When grief and depression co-exist, the grief is more severe and lasts longer than grief without depression. Despite some overlap between grief and depression, they are different.

Distinguishing between them can help people get the help, support or treatment they need.

So, do you think Nigerians understand ‘depression’? Let us know what you think in the comment box below.