The growing spate of suicide induced by depression among Nigeria youths, who constitute the major productive labour force significantly contributing to Nigeria’s economy, is a justification that the cankerworm kills faster than Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) and others.
In this features article, Legit.ng's regional reporter, Adeoye Adewunmi, writes about the menace, the roles of the government and parents in finding a lasting solution to it.
On January 13, 2021, a Nigerian digital strategist, Dele Bandele, was reportedly found dead as a result of depression at Omole phase 2 axis of Lagos state while his last known location was said to be at the Third Mainland Bridge with a farewell note, “I have battled with depression for 7 years, and now that battle is over."
Depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest with the implication on how you feel, think and behave; thereby leading to a variety of emotional and physical problems.
What are the causes of depression?
While analysing the root cause of depression, a senior lecturer at the department of sociology, University of Lagos, Waziri Adisa said that the government has failed to honour the terms of the social contract it entered into with its citizenry by not providing jobs, welfare and social amenities.
He identified a high level of unemployment, insecurity, lack of sustainable infrastructure and inadequate transportation system are the resultant effect of the breach of contract on the part of the government.
Dr. Adisa also blamed the inability of the family system to develop societal values that conform with social order.
He said that the family should be able to develop societal values that will instill a sense of loyalty, commitment and support to the state into the children.
In his analysis, a clinical psychologist, Aroyewun Afolabi added that depression is a product of excessive or too few neurotransmitters in the body.
Implications of depression on the Nigerian youths
The sociologist, who described depression as a psychological problem, said it comes with feelings relating to the dissatisfaction of wellbeing, life and living conditions.
Dr. Adisa also described depression as a sociological problem with its linkages to suicide as depressed people usually see egoistic suicide as the only solution to their problem.
The senior lecturer noted that depressed people are more likely to isolate themselves from others, develop some form of loneliness and frustration, adding that this justifies the frustration-aggression theory.
A consultant psychiatrist and lead therapist, Empathyspace consulting services, Dr. Kafayah Ogunsola, explained that this can affect their emotional health adversely, granting that they are running a challenging race and the uncertainties are hard to deal with while noting that drugs would not make this process easier.
How youths, parents, governments, others can help nip depression in the bud
The sociologist admonished Nigerian youths not to rely on public jobs, but horn their creativity skills as he said creativity is one of the characteristics of developed society that led to the creation of technologies.
He advised Nigerian youths to channel their excess energy and positively apply themselves by focusing on their journey and stop comparing themselves to other people.
The consultant psychiatrist asked parents to realise that they cannot raise their children the way they were raised, adding that there is excess information and trends influencing lifestyle, choices and negatively impacting emotional health.
Dr. Kafayah explained that parents should balance discipline with warmth in parenting while noting that domestic violence alters the mental state of children.
Dr. Afolabi finally said the government at all levels should realise that their policies are affecting people negatively, adding that more people would live a comfortable life if the economy is very good.
It was reported that the announcement was made in a statement by the spokesperson of the vice president, Laolu Akande, in Abuja.
Akande noted that ministers and heads of agencies gave progress reports on the implementation of the government’s Economic Sustainability Plan (ESC) on Monday, February 8, at the Presidential Villa.
Wale Akinola is a passionate journalist and researcher. He works as a senior political/current affairs editor at Legit.ng. He holds both B.A and Master’s degree in Communications and Language Arts from the University of Ibadan. He also holds a Diploma Certificate in Peace Journalism. He has over 15 years of work experience in both print and online media. He derives joy in keeping the public abreast of current happenings locally and internationally through his writings.