Nahimah Ajikanle Nurudeen
The Author of the renowned 162page book, “Shadows in the Mirror – The Many Faces of Depression”, Dr. Vivian Ikem, has stressed the need for public interventions on depression and mental health related issues.
Ikem who is a PhD graduate of Chemical Engineering from Imperial College, London made the call in a press release to mark the 2016 World Mental Health day slated for October 10.
Based on her passion and concerns about care for people suffering from depression, Ikem’s book which was launched last year October, has been able to create awareness on depression, its severity and commonality, breakdown, stigma, raise the profile of depression and mental health at local community and national levels, and raise voice of hope to those suffering and their care-takers.
According to her, it is important to educate people on the need to speak up as well as stop stigmatization against the depressed individuals.
She noted that with this year’s World Mental Health Day theme which is ‘Psychologcal First Aid’, it is critical to intensify efforts at reducing stigmatization.
She said, “Nigerians hardly talk about mental health and many think of depression simply as sadness, weakness, weak faith, something that is demon-inflicted or influenced by black magic, something to be ashamed of or as an issue specific to western communities”.
Ikem who lamented that there are hardly any government intervention, public advocacy or proper support, assistance, networks for it, added, “sadly, ignorance of depression is costly for many, and people are suffering in silence”.
Depression which affects both the young and old has been predicted World Health Organization to be the second leading cause of death and disability by 2020; only after ischemic heart disease.
It is also a big health concern for low-medium income countries like Nigeria whereas many as 1 in 5 people suffer with mental health issues.
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