‘7m Nigerians suffer stress, depression’
A medical consultant and Chairman of the Society of Family Physicians of Nigeria, Ekiti Zone, Dr. Olabode Shabi has said that about seven million Nigerians are currently suffering from mental health problems associated with stress and depression.
In his paper presented in Ado Ekiti at a lecture organized by the Information Chapel of the Nigerian Union of Journalists in Ekiti State, Shabi described stress as an exaggeration of normal physical response to events and life challenges that makes a person feel threatened or upset in some ways.
The paper is titled ‘’Stress and Depression in Workplace: Strategic approach to management.’’ Shabi said that depression is a common mental health problem affecting 29 million in Africa out of an estimated 322 million people worldwide.
Shabi who is also the Chief Consultant Family Health of the Federal Teaching Hospital, Ido Ekiti, identified major causes of stress in workplace to include ambiguity in the job schedule of workers, career development pressure, poor working environment. Others, according to him include lack of job security, fear of redundancy and early retirement, struggling to meet unrealistic targets, poor interpersonal relationship with the colleagues and superiors as well as low trust level and lack of problem sharing among workers.
Stressing that no human being has absolute immunity from depression under certain circumstances, Shabi highlighted major symptoms of the condition to include persistently sad moods, loss of pleasure in usual activities, feeling of helplessness and guilt or worthlessness. Others are, fatigue or decreased energy, loss of memory and concentration, loss of decision-making capability, poor abstract reasoning, restlessness, irritability, sleep disturbance and loss in appetite or weight.
Shabi listed major causes of stressful life conditions to include low literacy level, poverty and short life expectancy and negative life events such as bereavement, job loss, financial difficulties, divorce, loneliness, childhood abuse and neglect medical illnesses and exposure to chronic pains as well as imbibing some mentally stressful lifestyles such as misuse of certain prescription drugs and abuse of substances such as cocaine, narcotics and alcohol as causes of depression outside the workplace.
The Family Health Consultant identified strategies for managing stress to include avoiding unnecessary stress, reducing job stress by improving emotional intelligence, creating time for fun and relaxation.
“It include better management of one’s time, be willing to compromise, reframe problems, focus on positive things, accepting things one cannot change, sharing feelings with friends, resolving conflict positively, adopting healthy lifestyles, exercising regularly, eating healthy diet, avoiding alcohol, cigarettes and drugs reducing sugar and caffeine as well as getting enough sleep. “
Earlier in his welcome address, the Permanent Secretary of the Ekiti State Ministry of Information, Youth and Sports Development, Mr. Kola Ajumobi advised workers to pay more attention to their health to reduce their chances of becoming victims of Sudden Death Syndrome.
Ajumobi described the lecture as necessary and timely, stressing that more attention was needed to achieve good health in view of the prevailing economic recession and incursion of killer and sometimes unfamiliar diseases such as hypertension, depression, Ebola, Lassa into the society.
Ajumobi who noted that health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity emphasized that people should not wait until they fall sick before becoming mindful of their health emphasizing that prevention is better than cure.
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