Some years back, there were disturbing news of students committing suicide. It was as though it was happening concurrently in every school in Nigeria. For the first time, the deteriorating mental health in Nigeria was brought to light, and people started taking their mental health seriously.

Depression is distinct from mood swings and short-term emotional reactions to everyday problems. Depression can be dangerous to one’s health, particularly if it is recurrent and of moderate or severe degree. It can make the person suffer a lot and make them perform poorly at job, school, and at home. Suicide is a possibility when depression is severe.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), depression affects more than 264 million people globally, making it the world’s biggest cause of disability. The rate of major depressive episodes was highest among adolescents aged 12 to 17 years old (14.4 percent), followed by young adults aged 18 to 25 years old (13.8 percent). Severe depression among college students increased from 9.4% to 21.1 percent between 2013 and 2018, according to the 2019 Journal of Adolescent Health.

According to WHO, one out of every four Nigerians, that is, an average of 50 million people, is suffering from a mental illness. Apparently, Nigeria had the highest suicidal cases among African countries in 2016 with over 17,000 lives lost to suicide.

Prompted by the onslaught of suicide amongst young people, Princess Chidiebube Uwaezuoke to organise a workshop “Depression, Stress and Suicide Awareness” under the umbrella of DO-Take Action.

24-year-old Princess is a graduate of pharmacy from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. She is currently and is based in Abia state. Princess is passionate about making an impact, seeing lives change and generally making our world a better place. Being a medical practitioner and having survived depression herself, she understands the negative implications of depression and stress on people’s mental health. 

She carried out the project under Good Health and Well-being program; a DO program that addresses key challenges in the health care sector by carrying out advocacy campaigns, health outreaches, capacity building workshops and community infrastructure projects that will ultimately improve quality of health care and impact at least 10 million Nigerians over the next 10 years.

She carried out the Project at Trinity Methodist Church Nigeria, Umuogele, Amuda Isuochi, Abia State, and it entailed the following: 

  • The participants filled a pre-evaluation form based on the topic.
  • There was an exposition on the concept of Mental Health and factors affecting mental health. There was a brief explanation of depression, stress, and suicide.
  • The participants were drilled on their sympathy level for those who commit suicide and responses were gotten.
  • The participants filled the post-evaluation to help assess their understanding of the subject matter.

In the course of the project, a minimum of 13 participants were sensitized to mental health issues (Depression, Stress, Suicide). The participants pledged to support and commit to advocating for mental health issues in the community.  present scored 100% on the Depression, Stress and Suicide Awareness test and now know how to get help and how to treat those experiencing mental disorders. 13 participants pledged to advocate for mental health issues within their community. Persons opened up and reached out for help while some others pleaded for follow-up programs on mental health.

Princess has taken a step to create a saner and healthier world, starting from her community. Start from where you are to create the change you want to see in Nigeria.

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