Depression is a mental illness, and it is one of the most common health problems for young people in Africa and the world in general. Many different factors and life circumstances can contribute to anxiety and depression in young people. Depression is one of the major risk factors for suicide and self-harm. If a young person is self-harming or talking about suicide, it is important that they talk with close and trusted people in their lives, such as family or friends.
WHO estimates that over 300 million people are affected by the condition which is linked to the suicides of over 800,000 people each year! Suicide is the second leading cause of death among youth in the 15-29 age brackets. Depression arises from social, psychological and biological factors and people who have gone through adverse life events are more likely to develop depression, it adds.
Kenya was ranked sixth with the highest number of depression cases (1.9 million) among African countries by a WHO report last year. Dr Mary Wahome, a psychiatrist, told the Nation that depression can take long for it to manifest in an individual. “It is not a one-time event. There are people who live with depression for even ten years, and over time, their bodies develop skills of suppressing or coping with it. But this does not kill depression. It will keep piling up until someone can’t take it anymore,” she says.
She expressed concerns that the youth in Africa-Kenya and around the world have perfected the art of concealing their intentions to commit suicide, adding that the situation has been worsened by the fact that people no longer have close relationships with one another. Dr. Catherine Syengo Mutisya, the head of substance abuse and management in the Ministry of Health, said it is hard to extract a clear record of the number of people affected by the different forms of depression because many people do not seek help and simply conceal their condition.
AAHRED ON DEPRESSION ON YOUNG PEOPLE
Many people find it hard to ask for professional help and sometimes young people do not want to go to a healthcare professional. AAHRED Depression programme seeks to achieve the following goals:Encourage young people to talk about how they feel with someone they know and trust, such as a parent, teacher, school counselor, family member or friend.
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