A Psychologist based in Abuja, Theresa Akpan has said that women experience more depressing times in their life time than men.
Mrs Akpan said this in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, on Wednesday in Abuja, against the backdrop of the World Mental Health Day set aside by the UN on October 10.
The Day is for global mental health education, awareness and advocacy against social stigma, first celebrated in 1992 at the initiative of the World Federation for Mental Health, a global mental health organisation with members and contacts in more than 150 countries.
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The Day is also to raise awareness on mental health issues around the world and open opportunities for organisations that involved in mental health work to share ideas and experiences while dealing with mental health issues.
The theme for this year’s celebration is “Suicide Prevention”.
The psychologist said “women are more likely to experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD, than men after a traumatic event.”
According to her, some women are more likely to have generalised anxiety disorder or panic disorder than men and that depression in particular is a common challenge for women in all walks of life.
She added that “women experience depression before pregnancy and after pregnancy and those unaware of this fact may experience long-term health issues.
“Illiteracy and depression are closely related. We must accept this and feel no shame in asking for psychiatric help. Sadness hurts, but it is a healthy feeling. It is a necessary thing to feel but depression is very different.”
Mrs Akpan said many women suffering from depression failed to comprehend the seriousness of the disease, and rather than getting proper treatment, they fell prey to more health issues, including self-medication.
She, therefore, stressed the need for enlightenment to educate women about the negative effects of sadness, anxiety and depression and urged them to seek medical help whenever the need arose.
She noted that “a sad or depressed mother, wife, sister or daughter affects the entire family, thus, giving way to more societal problems like suicide.
“The Federal Government should not turn a blind eye to the significance of mental health. All states and communities must openly accept that mental illnesses like other illnesses are just as fatal and require medical and psychological intervention.”
She advised that having a support system from family, friends, and healthcare providers, including a trusted counsellor was one significant way women could advocate for their mental health.
“In addition, every woman should remember that she has a voice and some autonomy to make choices in spite of what is going on in their lives or what trauma they have experienced.
“Let them use their voices to make a choice in taking care of themselves.