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'Why women are worst hit by depression'

A psychiatrist with the Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH) Dr. Friday Philip, has said that women were more prone to depression because they do not share their problems with others.

“Women tend to keep more to themselves when they have issues bothering them. They hardly share their worries like men do,” Philip said on Friday in Jos.

He spoke at a seminar organised by AFRICAMSI, an NGO, to sensitise people on depression and its effects on the society.

The seminar had the theme: “African Woman: Managing The Evil of Stress, Depression and Suicide in the 21st Century”.

Philip advised people with symptoms of depression to promptly seek medical help.

“When a person gets extremely sick, most likely the individual will see a doctor; similarly, seeing a psychiatrist means the patient needs help and advice.

“Unfortunately, in our society, going to a psychiatrist often suggests to family members that the patient is insane or a lunatic,” he said.

He said that keeping mental challenge to oneself was “highly detrimental to health”, noting that many lives had been lost because of such attitude.

“People hardly seek help for mental challenges because of the stigma usually associated with such situations. Unfortunately, by the time the challenge is discovered, it is usually too late,” he said.

He emphasised the need to disabuse the minds of people on such stigma, saying that it had discouraged many from seeking psychiatric help early enough.

In her speech, Mrs. Linda Opuene, a clinical psychologist with JUTH, said that a feeling of overwhelming fatigue, sleeping disorder and internal feeling of loneliness were symptoms of depression.

“Other symptoms of depression include loss of interest in things that one initially derived joy from, inability to concentrate, and the feeling of worthlessness.

“Very often, too, a depressed person appears lost in deep thoughts,” she added.

She blamed the rise in depression on the rapid global changes, adding that 90 per cent of people who commit suicide were depressed.

Opuene added that stress, when poorly managed, could also lead to depression, saying that the trend was a global cause of diseases because it usually affect an individual’s overall health status.

Earlier, Dr. Caleb Attah, the founder of the organisation, had said that the seminar was organised to help women and the society to be aware that stress and depression could be managed.

Attah said that the NGO was ready to provide support to individuals with mental health challenges. (NAN)

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