Why There Is Increase In Depression Among Nigerian Youths? – Two Obvious Causes

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    A recent survey conducted by UNICEF in 21 countries, including Nigeria, revealed that one in five young Nigerians aged 15–24, said they often feel depressed or have little interest in doing things.

    It is also well-observed that in the space of 4 years, we’ve lost a couple of Nigerian youths to depression. Some painful “attempted suicide” and “successful suicide” events, made it to the news, and we keep hearing of some which didn’t make it to the news.

    Recently, a 21-year-old Nigerian man, Odunare Olalekan, allegedly committed suicide by jumping into a lagoon at Epe in the Epe Local Government Area of Lagos State.

    There was a viral video showing Olalekan sitting on the handrail of Berger Bridge, before suddenly jumping into the lagoon. 

    Sources have told Daily Trust that Olalekan, left a one-year-old baby behind. He was also said to have told his father, Mr Odunare, to pray for him.

     “He also told his girlfriend who is 19 years old to take care of his baby.

     Thereafter, he left to the bridge side to commit suicide by jumping inside the creek, without giving any reason for such action to his family,” a source close to the family said, according to the news outlet. His case is one of the occurrences which keeps repeating itself. If it’s not jumping into the lagoon, it’s suicide by drinking snipper. 

    There are two major universally acknowledged causes of depression in Nigerian youths. Most factors that breed these gloomy thoughts are mainly offsprings of the two causes:

    • Poverty 

    • Lack of love

    Poverty is a terrible disease that has eaten into the heart of the youths. What do you expect to be the mental state of the youths of a country which was declared “the poverty capital of the world” about a year ago? When you meet a Nigerian youth suffering from depression, just ask him or her the problem. You’ll understand that 60% of the time – if not more than 60% – the remedy to the problem is money. 

    The advent of social media has further worsened the situation, with people presenting fake lives of a “successful youth.” And the ones who are mirroring the true lifestyles of a “successful youth”, sometimes, end up doing it to oppress others. And there are weak minds who end up asking themselves “what was I doing when he/she was making money?” This leads to pressurizing themselves, thereby breeding depression.

    Years ago, I read a Facebook post by a young man who was lamenting about being jobless for 4 years, while a coursemate he was always helping in school, secured a better job and married immediately they graduated. You could see depression in his post.

    Unless the Nigerian economy is improved in such a way that the number of idle youths are lessened – by providing more job opportunities – it’s unfortunate that we’ll keep hearing these sad tales.

    Lack of love can be seen in two major categories:

    Family love and Relationship love

    Family love is enough to build self-love in someone. When your family members care about you, there is this conviction that they love you so much. It helps in building self-confidence, and contentment. When there is no wrong pressure from family members, one will find it hard to be subjected to the embrace of bitterness. A man around my neighbourhood would always shame in son in public, making him understand that his mates are making it while he’s still under his roof at 39.

    There are ways to pass messages through love and care, and you’ll still achieve what you want, but this man was lagging in the love required by his son. Lack of family love drove him into drinking a poisonous substance that ended his life. 

    Parents should continuously shower their children with love and care. When they remember how much they’re loved –  regardless of their poor status – they would think about the ones who love them, before committing suicide. That assurance of love has a way of changing a depressed mind.

    Relationship love has in recent times contributed heavily, to the number of depressed youths roaming society. Every now and then, we see the viral videos of girls crying of heartbreak. Am I to mention the issue of the young man who drank snipper last year, because his girlfriend left him?

    I think youths should be truthful to themselves when entering into a relationship. If it’s solely for certain benefits, it should be defined. If it’s solely for love, then the calendar has to be maintained, because not everyone knows how to handle heartbreak.

    It is not enough to tell people to see a psychologist, nor is it enough to refer them to mental therapy sessions. The aforementioned causes, if checkmated, will drastically reduce how many times we hear the words “depression” and “suicide.” 


    Written by: Edward Amah

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